The Leipzig Book Fair, one of the most important literary events in the world, gets underway in the East German city this week with the Czech Republic as the main guest of honour. The Czech program will be part of the Czech Year of Culture launched in the city in October last year, celebrating the country’s literature, film, photography, music and design.
New York-based Alex Zucker is one of the most highly-regarded translators of Czech literature into English and works regularly with leading writers such as Jáchym Topol and Petra Hůlová. When we spoke on a park bench in Manhattan in late September, the conversation took in Zucker’s time in Prague in the early 1990s, his long relationships with authors and his criteria for choosing projects. But first he told me how he had started translating Czech literature – via an interest in human rights.
Over 25,000 books were looted from the Czech lands by the Swedes at the end of the Thirty Years War. Today these valuable prints and manuscripts are scattered in libraries all around Sweden, but also elsewhere in Europe. A new project by the Czech Academy of Sciences attempts to trace all the books that have survived and create a digital catalogue accessible both to researchers and the general public.
The Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa will be the special guest at this
year’s edition of Book World Prague, which begins on May 9. The Nobel
Prize-winning author is known for such novels as The Time of the Hero, Aunt
Julia and the Scriptwriter and The Feast of the Ghost.
Other guests at the four-day book fair will include Bernardo Carvalho, Rodrigo Fresan, Alvaro Enrigue, David Unger and Mariana Enriquez, the organisers said on Tuesday.
A free global network for poets and poetry lovers, developed in the Czech Republic, has recently been launched in the United States. Called Poetizer, it allows its users to publish and share their poems and aims to serve as an alternative to the existing social platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. The site was originally founded in 2017 as a mobile app and currently covers some 120 countries with over 65,000 poems written by its users.
British actor and comedian Norman Lovett, whose head represented the ship
AI system ‘Holly’ in the television series Red Dwarf, has been
announced as one of the guests at the upcoming Future Gate sci-fi film
festival in Prague. The sixth version of the annual festival will run from
the end of February to mid-March and Lovett is set to introduce a special
Red Dwarf marathon, which will start on March 2.
Red Dwarf is one of the most popular comedy series in the Czech Republic and its latest seasons were recently aired on Czech Television to a dedicated fan base.
Though forced to live in exile for most of his life, the world-renowned pianist Rudolf Firkušný maintained strong Czech traditions at his home in the United States. Indeed, his daughter Véronique Firkusny’s mother tongue was Czech and today she translates leading authors from her parents’ homeland and helps opera singers get to grips with Czech-language works. When we spoke in New York, I first asked Véronique Firkusny how her father had viewed the situation in his native country following the Communist takeover of 1948.
The Czech Republic’s annual Muriel Award for the best comic book of the year was given to Svatá Barbora or Saint Barbara, a graphic novel about a highly publicised child-abuse case. The novel, a joint endeavour by writer Marek Šindelka, screenwriter Vojtěch Mašek and illustrator Marek Pokorný, also won the prize for best illustrations.
Czechs are marking twenty years since the death of Jaroslav Foglar, youth movement activist and author of the legendary comics Rapid Arrows. Among the events remembering the famous writer is a performance of his novel Mystery of the Puzzle Box at Prague’s Minor theatre, which has been sold out for weeks. Meanwhile, the Scout Foundation of Jaroslav Foglar, which is in charge of his heritage, is releasing a special, limited edition of his autobiography.
Earlier this year the Czech Republic marked the 80th anniversary of the Munich Agreement, signed in September 1938 by the leaders of Germany, France, Great Britain, and Italy, resulting in the annexation of the Sudetenland by Nazi Germany. Radio Prague’s David Vaughan recently published a book in the UK titled “Hear My Voice”, most of which is set in Czechoslovakia in the months preceding the Munich agreement. Its narrator is an interpreter for the international press corps in Prague and he watches the events of 1938 unfold in Central Europe as
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