Bianca Bellová this year won the top Czech literary award Litera Magnesia for her novel Jezero (The Lake), an honour that was soon followed by a European Union Prize for Literature. The first stop on our tour of “Bianca Bellová’s Prague” is the suburb of Radlice. The writer lived in the district until the age of 10, when the original Radlice village was razed to make way for Metro construction.
‘The Fire Next Time’ is the main theme of this years’ annual Prague Writers’ Festival, which gets underway in the Czech capital on Friday. The event, which is being held for the 27th time, brings together prominent writers and thinkers from around the world. One of the biggest guests this year is the Syrian poet Adonis, a perennial contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
For two weeks from November 12 the Czech Republic will be indulging in a feast of poetry with the 19th annual “Den poezie” poetry festival. It will include a wide variety of events, nearly two hundred in total, in sixty towns and villages across the country, and even if you do not speak Czech, you will not be left empty-handed. David Vaughan talks to the festival’s co-founder and co-organiser, Bernie Higgins.
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by the Czech-born writer Milan Kundera has been published for the first time in the Czech Republic. It was the author’s last novel written in Czech that had not been available in his homeland before now. The only edition ever released in Czech previously was in 1981 by the exile publishing house Sixty-Eight Publishers.
Martina Formanová, the wife of the famous Czech director Miloš Forman, was recently in Prague to launch an audio version of her novel, called Případ Pavlína, or Case Pavlína. The book, which was released a few years ago, tells the story of the Czech-born 1980’s super model Pavlína Pořízková and her family’s dramatic escape from Communist Czechoslovakia.
For the Irish poet Michael O’Loughlin, Europe is not just a place on the map. The Europe of his poetry is a labyrinth of ideas, memories and languages. Its borders are permeable and shifting. We sense it is there, yet it remains stubbornly elusive. Michael is in Prague as part of the UNESCO City of Literature programme, and has been reflecting on the city’s place in Europe, as well as his own European identity. He spoke with David Vaughan.
As part of its Modern Czech Classics series, the Karolinum Press has just published a collection of poems by Bohuslav Reynek in English translation. The poet died in 1971 at the age of 79, having spent nearly all his life in the depths of the Czech countryside, but it is only in recent years that he has been rediscovered by a wider readership. For decades, he was derided or at best ignored by the communist regime, not least because of the deeply spiritual quality of his work. Today Reynek is acclaimed not just for his poetry, but also as a visual
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“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
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