The Czech writer with Bulgarian roots, Bianca Bellová, 47, has received this year's European Union Prize for Literature for her novel Jezero (The Lake), the European Commission (EC) announced. The prize, which carries with it an award of 5000 euros, has been annually bestowed on talented European writers from the EU member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and the EU candidate countries since 2009. It should help them have their books published abroad and address a wider pubic. Bellova's novel The Lake won also the Czech Magnesia Litera main award for the book of the year recently. Her novel is a post-apocalyptic parable of environmental destruction followed by the destruction of human relations and individual souls.
The Magnesia Litera award for Czech book of the year has gone to Jezero (The Lake) by Bianca Bellová. The post-apocalyptic novel alludes to the collapse of the Soviet empire as well as pointing to today’s geopolitical situation. The prestigious Magnesia Litera for best work of prose went to Marek Šindelka’s Únava materialu (Material Fatigue), which was inspired by the recent migrant crisis. Prizes in six other categories were also handed out at Tuesday’s awards ceremony in Prague.
A new guidebook to Brno has come in for strong criticism from representatives of nearby towns that it disparages, Novinky.cz reported. Entitled “This is Brno”, the guide compares Kuřim to a labour camp and a monument to the loss of human judgement, as well describing the wine cellars of Velké Pavlovice as kitschy buildings that are a mockery of architecture. Its authors say they wished to present an unorthodox view of the region. However, one town mayor described the publicly funded publication as a work of childish provocation.
The head of the recently established Czech Literary Centre, Petr Janyška, has left the position after only five weeks, the news website Lidovky.cz reported. Mr. Janyška took up the post in late February, less than two months after the launch of the institution, which is tasked with promoting Czech literature internationally. He told Lidovky.cz that he had quit but refused to outline the reasons. A translator by profession, Mr. Janyška was one of the founders of the weekly Respekt and worked for several years as a diplomat.
Next week, books in the Czech Republic will have their moment in the media limelight. Czech Television will be screening a glitzy awards ceremony for this country’s best-known literary awards, the Magnesia Litera. Over the last sixteen years the awards have helped to draw attention to writers, poets, translators and publishers. There are no less than nine different categories, helping to give the awards ceremony a flavour of the Oscars – a deliberate strategy of Magnesia Litera’s media-savvy founder, Pavel Mandys. He came into the studio to talk
Petr Janyška is the head of the Czech Literary Centre, a recently created state agency that aims to promote the country’s writers internationally. Originally a translator, Janyška was one of the founders of the weekly Respekt before working for many years as a diplomat. Before getting on to his plans for the Czech Literary Centre, I asked him during a recent meeting about his own connection to books and writing.
How do you write poetry in the age of the tweet? Tomáš Míka has an answer. His latest collection is called Text Messages: it doesn’t quite go so far as to reduce everything to 140 characters, but the book does have its roots in the disembodied fragments of language that today form so much of our electronic communication. Tomáš talks to David Vaughan.
The Czech audiobook market has continued to grow for the fourth year in a row. Sales of audiobooks increased in 2016 by 37 percent on the previous year to nearly 112 million crowns, according to a new analysis by the Audiobook Publishers Association published on Wednesday. The range of books available on the market has increased by around fifty percent to 172 new titles. Over one quarter of all the audiobooks sold last year were purchased in the digital form. The largest share of the market is divided between three major audiobook publishers: Czech Radio’s own label Radioservis, Supraphon, and Tympanum. According to the survey, the bestselling audiobook last year was Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements, read by popular Czech actor Jaroslav Dušek, followed by a collection of 15 plays by the Jára Cimrman theatre.
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