Poet, novelist, essayist, former diplomat and translator from French,
Václav Jamek, will be presented the Karel Čapek Award by the Czech PEN
Mr. Jamek, who is 70, has received numerous awards for his works in both
the Czech Republic and France, including the Tom Stoppard Prize as well as
the Josef Jungmann Award for translation. In 1999 he was named Officer of
France’s Order of Arts and Letters. He writes both in Czech and French.
The Karel Čapek Award was established by the PEN Club’s Czech branch in 1994 and is presented to outstanding writers every two years. Among its previous holders are the former president and writer Václav Havel, Arnošt Lustig and Ivan Klíma.
The award will be presented at the Mayor’s seat in Prague on Thursday evening.
Karel Čapek was a leading Czech interwar novelist, playwright and journalist and is perhaps most remembered for works of science fiction such as The War with the Newts and R.U.R., which gave the world the word “robot”. But did you know that Čapek was also a travel writer? His pieces from around Europe are the focus of the book In Search of a Shared Expression by Mirna Solic, a lecturer at the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Glasgow. I spoke to her on the phone from Scotland.
Essayist, educator and debut novelist René Georg Vasicek was conceived in communist-era Czechoslovakia, born in Austria a year after the Soviet-led invasion of his parents’ homeland, and raised in the pine barrens of eastern Long Island, New York. His novel The Defectors is a self-described book of odd and uncanny episodes about people, many of them Czechs, trying not just to escape reality but “defect” from it.
The Grandmother by Božena Němcová is an iconic work in Czech literature. The novel about an idealized rural community in the early 19th century, written in the days of the national revival, marks the beginning of Czech prose. First published in 1855, it has been reissued 300 times and translated into numerous languages to reach readers the world over.
Kafka, Čapek, Kundera and Havel, these are all world renowned names, but what about all the others? How well are Czech authors actually known abroad? Can you find a bookshop in Berlin, Madrid, Moscow, Paris or New York that aside from classics such as The Good Soldier Švejk also sell the works of contemporary Czech authors? At Radio Prague International we have decided to map out the popularity and availability of Czech books abroad and find out which books have been translated into international languages such as English, German, Russian, Spanish
Thursday is the 130th anniversary of the birth of Czech journalist, novelist and dramatist Karel Čapek. Čapek was best known for his science fiction, including the 1936 novel War with the Newts, the 1920 play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), which gave the world the word “robot”. His older brother Josef Čapek was a well-known painter and writer.
The celebrated Czech-born writer Milan Kundera received Czech citizenship forty years after it was revoked by the communist regime. The author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being was stripped of his citizenship after going into exile in France and his works were banned in his homeland until the 1980s.
The National Library of Israel has started digitising a long-lost batch of archival materials, belonging to Franz Kafka’s friend Max Brod. They include, among other things, Kafka’s personal diary and a notebook in which he practiced Hebrew. Israel received the missing documents from a Swiss bank in August after years of international searches and legal disputes over the author’s legacy.