After the end of the Second World War it was often very difficult to catch and bring Nazi war criminals and their collaborators to justice. Historian Vojtěch Kyncl from the Czech Academy of Sciences has written a new book called Beasts: Czechoslovakia and the Persecution of Nazi Criminals, which explores the Czechoslovak side of this endeavour. I began by asking him when the allies, including Czechoslovakia, first committed to bringing Nazi war criminals to justice.
‘Laydeez do Comics’ is an international organisation that promotes female comics artists and their work. I spoke with the co-founders of the Czech branch shortly after the publication of their new book Komiksodějky. This anthology of essays and interviews about the genre, its history and specific Czech development, features a wild, eclectic mix of comics and illustrations by local female comics authors, many of whom poke fun at stereotypes.
A new exhibition, marking the start of the school year, got underway at the National Museum in Prague on Monday. It is dedicated to the 17th century Czech philosopher and thinker Jan Ámos Komenský or Comenius, known as ‘The Teacher of Nations’, and focuses on his most famous work for children, called Orbis Pictus.
T.G. Masaryk’s daughter Alice was imprisoned in 1915 for treason, a charge that carried the death penalty. Her time in a grim jail in Vienna is the focus of Charlotte and Alice, a freshly published and highly illuminating collection of over 200 letters between her and her US-born mother, Charlotte Masaryk. The book is the work of Anne Johnson, an American editor and translator who lives in Brno. She explained its genesis when we spoke recently in the city.
The Australian broadcaster and writer Richard Fidler is author of two bestsellers Ghost Empire, a fascinating reconstruction of the history of ancient Byzantium, and Saga Land, a very personal journey into Icelandic history. His writing is lively and engaged, but he is also meticulous in his research. Earlier this year Richard spent two months in Prague on a residency made possible through the UNESCO City of Literature programme. He is writing a book that will look at a thousand years of Prague history, each episode told through the story of an
Over 90 percent of books in the Czech National Library printed after the year 1800 are threatened with destruction caused by acid, which has been forming in the paper over the years. The library has now taken a major step to prevent the valuable volumes from turning to dust, sending several thousand of them to Germany to undergo special chemical treatment, called de-acidification.
For the past seven years, Denisa Haubertová Šedivá has been living in Brussels with her husband, Czech ambassador to NATO Jiří Šedivý, and their two children. While feeling a bit homesick, she decided to write an alphabet book that would work as a guide to Czech life and culture, covering all sorts of topics from fairy tale characters and nursery rhymes to history, art and design. The book is intended primarily for children, but with its beautiful graphic design and charming, black and white illustrations, it really engages readers of all ages.
With three books published just last year, Marek Toman is currently one of the most prolific Czech authors. He last spoke to Radio Prague almost three years ago after he published a novel narrated by a building – Černín Palace, seat of the Czech Foreign Ministry. Since then, he has written two other novels closely connected to historical Prague. When we met up I asked him what it was about Prague and its particular districts that inspired him to write whole books about them.
Book World Prague, the 25th installment of the International Book Fair and
Literary Festival, kicks off on Thursday at the Holešovice fairgrounds.
A total of 29 countries will be represented at the four-day fair and festival, which last year drew 46,000 visitors.
The focus this year is on Memory and Reminiscence while the guest of honour is a continent – Latin America. Nobel Prize-winning novelist Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru is among the high-profile guests set to attend.
The opening day programme includes presentation of the Anticena Skřipec, a booby prize presented by the Czech Literary Translators’ Guild for the worst translation of a work of fiction published in the previous year.
Among the major Latin American writers presenting their work are Bernardo Carvalho, Rodrigo Fresán, Álvaro Enrigue, David Unger, and Mariana Enríquez. The German Nobel Prize-winning author Herta Müller is also set to attend.
The winner of the prestigious 2018 Magnesia Litera Award for Prose went to journalist, translator and writer Pavla Horáková for her novel A Theory of Strangeness. Pavla, who is a former Radio Prague reporter, now has several books under her belt, including a popular trilogy for children and a book on soldiers serving in WWI. However, her first big novel, A Theory of Strangeness, which was an overnight success, is the most difficult to define. So when I met up with Pavla to talk about her new book my first question was how she herself would define