Italian writer, translator, German studies scholar and essayist Claudio Magris will receive this year’s Franz Kafka prize. Mr Magris, has become the sixteenth recipient of the international literary award which is given to authors whose work appeals to readers across different cultures. Among the previous winners were Austria’s Elfriede Jelinek and British playwright Harold Pinter, both of whom went on to win the Nobel Prize in literature the same year. Claudio Magris, who was born in Trieste in 1939, has received a number of Italian and European literary awards and many of his books have also appeared in Czech. He will collect the prize at the award giving ceremony in October.
In our last edition of Czech History we showcased the recently published book of US author Kevin J McNamara “Dreams of a Great Small Nation.” The book traces the emergence of an independent Czechoslovakia at the end of WWI and in particular the role played by the Czechoslovak legion fighting along the Siberian railway against the new and fragile Bolshevik regime. In this second part of an interview with the author, we examine how far the fighting helped to seal the creation of the new Czechoslovak nation and Mr. McNamara’s further research and involvement
Every year the Czech Ministry of Culture and the Association of Czech Libraries awards the title Knight of the Order of the Beautiful Word to over a dozen children who have discovered the joy of reading and to selected actors and writers who have helped to bring the magic of the spoken or written word to the youngest generation. This year, for the first time ever, one of those admitted to the select club is a member of the Czech expat community abroad – nine-year-old Jerry Mech from Chicago.
Canadian writer Ken Campbell of The Hockey News has ranked the Czech Republic’s national hockey team eighth out of eight squads to compete in the prestigious World Cup of Hockey this September. The power rankings were released after the rosters for the competition were finalised; a disclaimer in the article reminds readers not to take the rankings as predictions; rather they can be interpreted as a summary of teams’ overall strengths and weaknesses. Campbell expressed the opinion that Czechs were weakest when it came to defense but had several “serviceable” NHL forwards. He praised as “good” the goalies Michal Neuwirth and Petr Mrázek. On the list, the Czech squad boasts the second-fewest Stanley Cup rings (although a San Jose Sharks win this year would add two). Czech coach Josef Jandač, meanwhile, told idnes.cz that the team saw the situation neither bleakly nor with rose-coloured glasses, saying they knew they could only surprise.
The 26th Prague Writers’ Festival will welcome the South African writer J.M. Coetzee and US novelist Chuck Palahniuk, organisers announced on Tuesday. The theme of this year’s festival, which takes place in October, is crime and punishment. Other scheduled guests include Egyptian poet Mohamed El-Baaly and Yan Lianke, a Chinese writer and recipient of the 2014 Franz Kafka Prize.
One of the familiar voices that will forever be associated with Czechoslovak Radio belongs to Miloslav Disman, who worked here between 1930 and 1973, and who changed the style of radio broadcasting in this country, with such informal programmes as Okénko (which you just heard a snippet of), and through a radio children’s ensemble, which bears his name to this day.
This years’ Magnesia Litera Award for best blog went to Humans of Prague, a website featuring street portraits and interviews collected in the streets of the Czech capital. Established three years ago by Tomáš Princ, the blog has to this day featured over one thousand portraits and has attracted over 88,000 Facebook followers.
‘Dreams of a Great Small Nation’ is a book by US scholar and historian Kevin J McNamara. It traces the circumstances surrounding the exploits of the Czechoslovak legion during WWI and in particular their takeover of the Trans-Siberian railway and most of Siberia in 1918. McNamara characterises the legion as “a mutinous army that Threatened a revolution, Destroyed an Empire, Founded a Republic, and Remade the Map of Europe.”
The 10th annual Literature Night is being marked in the Czech Republic on Wednesday. The event, which is organised by the Czech Centres network, will see readings from European literature by well-known film and stage actors at 21 places in Prague’s Karlín district and at 49 other locations around the country, starting at 18:00. A host of other European cities, including London, Madrid and Budapest, are also taking part.