Italian scholar, writer, and essayist Claudio Magris will be awarded this year’s Franz Kafka prize in Prague on Thursday. Born in Trieste in 1939, Magris is known for his focus on Central Europe and German. His most famous book, Danube, followed the course of the river through the region. Magris’ work first appeared in Czech in 1992. He will be the 16th winner of the Franz Kafka award, which seeks to give recognition to writers who have followed in the literary path of the celebrated Czech 20th century writer.
You may well have heard of the English princess who became Queen of Bohemia for just one winter, but did you know that it was a Bohemian queen who persuaded Richard II not to burn down London in a fit of rage? Or at least, so the story goes. The historical links between Bohemia and Britain go back a very long way, and have become something of an obsession for the Czech novelist Hana Whitton. She talks about her writing with David Vaughan.
A new book of stunning photographs from Space by former NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao published by the Zdeněk Sklenář Gallery was launched in Prague this week. Chiao’s photos, shot in orbit some 400 kilometres above the Earth, were taken from four separate missions between 1994 and 2005. On the occasion of the book launch, Czech Radio’s Miroslav Krupička asked the astronaut about how the idea for the book, due to also come out in English and Chinese, came together after he and Sklenář met.
Even though he lives a world away from Prague, the New Zealand poet David Howard was on familiar territory when he visited the Czech Republic this year. In his poetry he has come to this country often over the last decades. Thanks to the Cities of Literature scheme, coordinated by UNESCO, he was able to spend a two-month literary residency in Prague. The encounter of the city of his imagination with the reality proved an inspiration. David Vaughan has more.
Noir fiction and the sub-genre Urban Noir do not have a long-standing tradition in Czech writing, where the emphasis for many years was on classic mysteries and detective stories. But that didn’t stop the independent Brooklyn-based publishing house Akashic Books from addressing Czech publisher Paseka with the idea of adding Prague to its long running urban noir series.
The annual Prague Writers’ Festival, which brings together prominent writers and thinkers from around the world, gets underway in Prague on Friday. The 26th edition of the festival focuses on the theme of Crime and Punishment in a world where the destruction of universal human values often leads to extreme individualism. As always, the festival brings a number of guests, including US writer Chuck Palahniuk.
The Czech Constitutional Court has rejected a complaint by fugitive businessman Frantisek Savov with regard to information that the Prague State Attorneys’ Office made available to the British judiciary in support of an extradition request. The request was granted earlier this year and the businessman claims that the office overstepped its powers in releasing certain papers to the British authorities. The judge ruled on Friday that his complaint was unsubstantiated. The 44-year-old businessman is wanted on suspicion of large-scale tax evasion and money laundering. Savov, who owns the Mladá Fronta publishing house and a series of publications including the business paper E15 and Euro magazine, has denied any wrongdoing.
The Czech-born Jewish writer and painter Max Mannheimer has died in Germany at the age of 96. Mr Mannheimer, who was born in Nový Jičín, survived the Holocaust and dedicated his life in post-war Germany to fighting anti-Semitism. German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised Mr Mannheimer on Saturday for his efforts to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive, calling him "a great reconciler."
Stories of the victims of the totalitarian regime in Czechoslovakia are set to be released on Monday by the NGO Post Bellum, which has been publishing the testimonies of witnesses to modern Czech history for nearly 15 years. Entitled Stories of Heroes of the 20th century, the book brings more then 30 testimonies which have not been yet available in the audio archive on the NGO`s website. Some of them have already been released as part of the regular Czech Radio show Stories of the 20th Century. The book will be suitable for children from the age of 13.
This year’s George Theiner Prize, which honours people who have helped to promote Czech literature abroad, went to Markéta Goetz-Stankiewicz. At the University of British Columbia she has devoted decades to promoting, translating and writing about modern Czech literature. It was also thanks to Markéta that many Czech playwrights, banned back home, managed to have their work performed on stages in Canada during the 1970s and ‘80s. She has worked just as hard to promote interest in the rich legacy of German writing from what is now the Czech Republic.
New flats in Prague increasingly out of reach
“I believe this is the last nail in the PM’s coffin”, says head of Czech Transparency International after EU Audit
Lidice – the tragic fate of a village that became a powerful symbol
Largest protest since 1989 on Prague’s Wenceslas square as battle rages on for the PM’s political future
Czech politicians condemn draft Russian bill as attempt to rewrite history