Archive: Culture | Literature Literature

God the linguist teaches us to breathe

14-04-2012 02:01 | David Vaughan

Ivan Blatný “Bixley Remedial School” is one of the most remarkable collections of Czech poetry from the second half of the twentieth century. At the time it was first published in the early 1980s, its author Ivan Blatný was a long-term patient in a psychiatric hospital in England. A new edition of the collection reminds us that Blatný’s poetry is far from being the mere scribbling of a madman. David Vaughan reports.  More

22nd edition of Prague Writers’ Festival brings international literature greats like Hanif Kureishi to Czech capital

12-04-2012 16:17 | Sarah Borufka

Hanif Kureishi On Saturday, the 22nd edition of the prestigious Prague Writers’ Festival kicks off in the Czech capital, under the theme of “Only the future exists”. For five days, visitors will have the opportunity to attend readings, discussion panels and film screenings featuring writers from around the world. As every year, the festival brings writers of international caliber to the city, with the British novelist and screenwriter Hanif Kureishi probably the most famous guest this year. Sarah Borufka spoke to the festival’s president, Michael March, about the guests, the mission and the theme of the festival.  More

Petr Váša – avant-garde rocker turned ‘physical poet”

25-03-2012 03:01 | Jan Richter

Petr Váša In Sunday Music Show, you have a chance to follow the career of Petr Váša, one of the most original figures of the Czech musical scene. From his early days of avant-garde rock to his ‘physical poetry’, Petr Váša has explored some of the lesser known corners of popular music with his energetic, disquieting and sometimes rather eccentric creations.  More

“Sala’s Gift”: a whole war in a tin box

17-03-2012 02:01 | David Vaughan

You will probably not have heard of Gross Sarne, Brande, Blechhammer or Schatzlar, but these are places that should be remembered. They were all Nazi slave labour camps in World War Two. The last on that list, Schatzlar, or Žacléř as it is known in Czech, was in what is now the Czech Republic, in the part of north-eastern Bohemia annexed by the German Reich in 1938. Few people in this country, even among the inhabitants of Žacléř itself, know that the camp even existed, but a new book should help to put that right. The daughter of one of the survivors has just been in the Czech Republic, to launch the Czech edition of her book “Sala’s Gift”. The book tells her mother’s story, drawing richly from Sala’s own memories and from several hundred letters that, against all odds, survived the war. David Vaughan tells the story.  More

A new “Czech Literature Guide” gives useful insights into the world of Czech books

10-03-2012 02:01 | David Vaughan

If you’re looking for an overview of the current Czech literary scene in English – everything from surrealist poets to second-hand bookshops – the new “Czech Literature Guide” should be just the book for you. As it states in its introduction, the book’s aim is to present a “panorama of the contemporary life of Czech literature”. David Vaughan reports.  More

“Heaven, distance, light and dazzling brightness”: Czech literary links with Scandinavia

03-03-2012 02:01 | David Vaughan

Norway, photo: Schlaubi, CC 3.0 license Did you know that one of Norway’s popular writers is actually Czech, or that in the mid 1930s Karel Čapek fell in love with the forests and skies of Scandinavia? And do Czechs and Danes have more in common than just beer? David Vaughan looks at Czech-Scandinavian literary links.  More

Tomáš Zmeškal: The Biography of a Black-and-White Lamb

18-02-2012 02:01 | David Vaughan

Tomáš Zmeškal When Tomáš Zmeškal’s first novel was published four years ago, one critic described it in ecstatic terms as a “gold vein amid the deadwood of contemporary Czech scribbling”. The book, A Love Letter in Cuneiform Script, went on to win the coveted European Union Prize for Literature last year and Tomáš Zmeškal has won international acclaim, although we are still waiting for either of his two novels published so far to appear in English. David Vaughan talks to the writer.  More

Dickens and the Good Soldier Švejk

11-02-2012 02:01 | David Vaughan

Here is a question for the Dickens bicentenary. What is the connection between the great 19th century English novelist and the best-loved Czech literary anti-hero? The answer is, surprisingly enough, that without Dickens we quite possibly wouldn’t have Švejk at all. David Vaughan looks at this and some other Czech links with Dickens in this week’s Czech Books.  More

Jaroslav Foglar and his “Rapid Arrows”

31-01-2012 14:30 | Jan Richter

'Rapid Arrows' Writer and youth movement activist Jaroslav Foglar left a deep trace in Czech popular culture. Besides more than 25 novels for children, Jaroslav Foglar is also the father of Rychlé šípy, or “Rapid Arrows”, a legendary comics that has earned a following with generations of Czech readers. Persecuted by the Nazis and the communists, the writer also single-handedly founded his own youth organization which, in its heyday, had tens of thousands of members across the country.  More

Hana Andronikova: mourning a powerful Czech literary voice

28-01-2012 02:01 | David Vaughan

Hana Andronikova It seems very strange to be talking about the Czech writer Hana Andronikova in the past tense. When she died of cancer on December 20th last year, she was only 44, and until the last months of her life had been at the height of her creative powers. Author of two successful novels, several plays and numerous short stories, she was one of the most versatile younger Czech writers, and will be hugely missed. David Vaughan looks at her life and work.  More



April 2012


March 2012


February 2012


Complete archive

Latest programme in English