All stories Czech Books

Brass bands, beer and a famous boulevard: Czech links with Mexico

26-11-2011 02:01 | Bernie Higgins, David Vaughan

Emperor Maximilian In this programme we go south of the border, to explore some intriguing Czech literary and other cultural links with Mexico, stretching right back to the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Bernie Higgins begins by recounting an extraordinary episode from the mid 19th century.  More

Ewald Osers: “a certain talent for languages”

19-11-2011 02:01 | David Vaughan

Ewald Osers Last month we heard the sad news of the death of Ewald Osers at his home in England at the age of 94. Born in Prague at a time when it was still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Osers was an outstanding linguist and a brilliant translator. Over the decades he translated dozens of Czech writers and poets into English, and was equally well known for his translations from German. David Vaughan looks back at a fascinating life.  More

John Banville: claiming Kafka as an Irish writer

12-11-2011 02:01 | David Vaughan

John Banville A few days ago the Booker Prize winning Irish writer John Banville was in Prague, to receive one of Europe’s most coveted literary awards, the Franz Kafka Prize. David Vaughan took the opportunity to talk to the writer about his work and his fascination with the cultural and literary world of Central Europe.  More

Robert Fulghum’s tango for one in Prague

29-10-2011 02:01 | David Vaughan, Pavel Sladký

Robert Fulghum, photo: Argo publishing The best-selling American writer Robert Fulghum has such an enthusiastic following in the Czech Republic that he has published several of his books here in Czech translation before they have even appeared at home. That includes his latest book, “If You Love Me Still, Will You Love Me Moving?” Its subtitle “Tales from the Century Ballroom” hints at its theme – that most passionate of ballroom dances, tango. Last week Robert Fulghum was in Prague to promote the book, and found time to pay a visit to the radio. David Vaughan met him.  More

Rabindranath Tagore: an Indian poet who inspired a Czech generation

15-10-2011 02:01 | David Vaughan

Rabindranath Tagore This year is the 150th anniversary of the birth of the great Bengali poet, Rabindranath Tagore, the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. Tagore has a special significance for Czechs, as we find out in this week’s Czech Books.  More

Edith Pargeter: an English novelist in Prague

01-10-2011 02:01 | David Vaughan

Edith Pargeter This week would have been the 98th birthday of Edith Pargeter, an English writer who translated many of the Czech classics. You may well have come across her under the penname Ellis Peters that she adopted for much of her fiction. Under this alias she created two of the most famous fictional detectives in twentieth century crime writing, Sergeant George Felse, and the medieval monastic sleuth Brother Cadfael. In Czech Books this week, David Vaughan explores Edith Pargeter’s special relationship to Czechoslovakia.  More

A Prague poet “infinitely better known than Shakespeare”

24-09-2011 02:01 | David Vaughan

Elizabeth Jane Weston In Czech Books this week we find out about the life and times of an English-born Renaissance poet who spent nearly all her life in Prague and in her time was more celebrated than Shakespeare. David Vaughan has been exploring the life and work of “Westonia”.   More

“If I had been a boy, I would have been shot…” Part 9

03-09-2011 02:01 | David Vaughan

Lidice We have reached the ninth and final part of our serialized reading of “If I had been a boy, I would have been shot…” by Jaroslava Skleničková. The war is over, and Jaroslava’s account takes us from the traumas of her return to the present day, and her life with her husband Mirek in the new Lidice. But first, David Vaughan sums up the story so far.  More

“If I had been a boy, I would have been shot…” Part 8

27-08-2011 02:01 | David Vaughan

Ravensbrück concentration camp In the last few weeks Veronika Hyks has been reading from the memoirs of Jaroslava Skleničková, an extraordinary story of survival in war. We have now reached May 1945. After nearly three years in Ravensbrück, the women of Lidice are now free, although they still face the trauma of returning home to find that the village has been wiped off the map and that all their menfolk and nearly all their children are dead. David Vaughan introduces the eighth episode.  More

“If I had been a boy, I would have been shot…” Part 7

06-08-2011 02:01 | David Vaughan

Jaroslava Skleničková Over the last few weeks, the actress Veronika Hyks has been bringing us extracts from Jaroslava Skleničková’s memoirs, “If I had been a boy, I would have been shot…”. The book tells the moving story of how Jaroslava was sent with the other women from her home village of Lidice to the Ravensbrück concentration camp near Berlin, after the Nazis razed the entire village to the ground in June 1942. The men of the village were shot in cold blood, and nearly all the children were gassed in Poland, but throughout their stay in Ravensbrück, the women had no idea of their fate. As the end of the war drew close, Jaroslava, together with her mother and sister, were marched out of the camp, together with hundreds of other women. David Vaughan brings the story up to date.  More

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