All the characters in Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s great Irish-language comic novel Cré na Cille are dead. The title could be translated as Graveyard Clay and the setting is a graveyard in Connemara. But this is a graveyard where the deceased are more than a little talkative. The book is narrated in many voices, most of them in South Connemara dialect, and has been said to be untranslatable into English, let alone Czech, but now, nearly 70 years after it was first published in Ireland, Cré na Cille has just come out in a vibrant Czech translation. David
Although Czech soldiers are currently serving in foreign missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Mali and the Sinai Peninsula, their service and daily lives far from home remain veiled in mystery for most Czechs. A book entitled The Other Life, which hit bookshelves late last year, aims to change that and increase the public’s respect for members of the Czech armed forces.
Czech writer Jaroslav Rudiš is set to receive the prestigious German
literary award Preis der Literaturhäuser. The organizers highlighted
Rudiš’s ability to work with different literary genres.
The 45-year old writer, who lives both in the Czech Republic and Germany, will pick up the award, which comes with a cheque for 15,000 euros, in March at the Leipzig Book Fair.
Franz Fühmann (1922-1984) was one of East Germany’s most widely read writers. He is also one of few that have stood the test of time. He grew up in Czechoslovakia in Rokytnice nad Jizerou, a small town in the mountains close to what was then the border between Czechoslovakia and Germany. This provided the setting for several of his stories, drawing from his pre-war memories of the Sudetenland. They form part of his 1962 collection The Jew Car which is now available in English, published by Seagull Books and translated by Isabel Cole. David Vaughan
Where are the most unusual places to have a drink in Prague? What are the city’s five best small breweries? And which five river islands are worth discovering? A new book called ‘500 Hidden Secrets of Prague’ gives answers to all these questions and more and invites both tourists and locals to discover places off the beaten track.
At the end of 2015 the Australian novelist and essayist Liam Pieper was Prague’s first writer-in-residence through the UNESCO City of Literature programme. His two months in Prague bore fruit. Last year Liam’s powerful and disturbing novel, The Toymaker, was published by Penguin Australia to critical acclaim. It has since been translated into several languages, including Czech. Set in Auschwitz, wartime Prague and Krakow, and contemporary Melbourne, The Toymaker grapples with the legacy of the Holocaust and reminds us of the dangers of keeping silent
The Indian journalist Inderjit Badhwar has a reputation for pursuing stories with courage and determination. His investigative writing during the more than two decades he spent in the US earned him a Pulitzer nomination. But it wasn’t his work as a journalist that brought Badhwar to Prague last month. He is also an acclaimed and award-winning novelist, writing from a perspective that crosses continents and reflects his own international life story. He was here for the Prague Writers’ Festival, during which he spoke to David Vaughan about his writing
Police have retrieved a valuable 16th century herbarium that disappeared
from the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague.
The book was confiscated during a raid in the home of a Ukranian national who is suspected of illegal drugs production and bribery.
The herbarium had been missing for 26 years. The Ukrainian claimed to have bought it on the black market. Its value is estimated at 150,000 crowns.
Ever since her award-winning debut novel All This Belongs to Me came out in 2002, Petra Hůlová has been a major voice in Czech fiction. The book went on to be translated into many languages, including English, and became a huge success for the then twenty-three-year-old writer. Now, thanks to translator Alex Zucker and Jantar Publishing, English readers can enjoy another of Petra’s novels. Three Plastic Rooms is written as the monologue of a prostitute as she approaches middle age. It is totally absorbing – acrobatic in its language and humorous
Dlouhá cesta or Long Journey is the title of a new book by the Czech UK-based author Petr Horáček. The talented illustrator has published dozens of children’s books in Britain, wining a number of awards around the world, but Dlouhá cesta is his first title written in Czech for Czech children. Radio Prague went to the book launch.