Magnesia Litera Awards announced

Last weekend, the winners of the Magnesia Litera book awards for the best Czech books published in 2002 were announced in Prague.

Pavel Zatloukal, the head of the Arts Museum in Olomouc, won the main prize, the Book of the Year award for his "Pribehy z dlouheho stoleti," or "Stories from the Long Century", featuring the gems of Moravian and Silesian architecture built between 1750 and 1918, and putting them in a broader historical and social context. This book was also announced best work of non-fiction at last Saturday's Magnesia Litera Awards ceremony in the beautiful Art Deco building of the Municipal Library in Prague - an event which re-opened its great hall to the public after post-flood renovation works finished.

preparation and publishing of the complete works of Bohumil Hrabal, in a category called outstanding contribution to Czech literature. And finally, in the best debut category, the young Czech author Petra Hulova was awarded for her novel "Pamet moji babicce," or "A Memory for My Grandmother", which is unusually set in Mongolia. Radio Prague's Jan Velinger spoke to Petra Hulova earlier this year and this is what she had to say about her much praised literary debut.

"This book is my opinion in a certain time, now or a year ago, how the life is, how the world is. And for me it is about relations, about love, about disappointment, about bitterness, about such feelings, basic feelings for me. And in Mongolia I think life isn't polluted - maybe not the proper word - polluted by artificial phenomena like in Europe. Media, advertising, career maybe. So if I set the story in a Czech setting I couldn't avoid writing about such things. But I'm not interested in that, and I wanted somehow to write a rough, simple story about what life means to me."

Author Petra Hulova on her book "A Memory for my Grandmother," which won the prize for best debut published in 2002 at last Saturday's Magnesia Litera Awards ceremony.