Ludvik Vaculik, one of the Czech Republic's greatest living writers turned 80 on July 23. Born in Brumov, a small corner of southeast Moravia, in 1926, Ludvik Vaculik became an acclaimed writer—important enough for the communists to ban after 1968—and his credentials have also included editor of both Literarni Noviny and Rude Pravo, radio journalist, publisher of the samizdat series Edice Petlice, essayist, and always an engaged citizen.
This past Sunday, Ludvik Vaculik celebrated his 80th birthday. One of the Czech Republic's most well-known and respected writers, Ludvik Vaculik has been part of the Czech literary scene since the 1950s. He has written several novels, literally hundreds of essays, not to mention some of the most important political texts of twentieth century Czechoslovak history.
The photographer Miroslav Tichy became known in the Czech Republic only recently, after he achieved major success abroad. His unusual photographs have been exhibited in galleries in London, New York, Zurich and although they are of very poor technical quality visitors and critics are impressed. The photographs are now sold for up to ten thousand euros.
The Colours of Ostrava, which gets underway on Thursday and reaches a climax on Sunday evening, is perhaps the biggest music festival in Moravia. Among the biggest stars this year are ex-Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant and Salif Keita from Mali. As organiser Zlata Holusova explains, this year's festival has a distinct international feel.
A very popular exhibit of Prague Castle's seating furniture has received two pieces of good news: high demand has extended the exhibit until the end of October, and visitors can now admire a new acquisition—or rather one that has returned home after 27 years away. An armchair designed in the early 1920s by Josip Plecnik for president Tomas Masaryk has been recovered at an auction, bought by Prague Castle, and added to the rare collection of pieces on display at Prague's Royal Summer Palace.
In this week's Arts, a look at the music of the Altai Republic in Siberia and attempts by one man to bring it here to the Czech Republic. He is Prague-born Ludek Broz, who's currently doing a PhD in social anthropology at Cambridge University and who also runs a company which encourages tourism and business opportunities in the Altai region.
The 41st Karlovy Vary International Film Festival came to an end on Saturday and its organisers certainly have cause for celebration. By Wednesday, the number of accredited visitors had surpassed that for the entire festival last year. Overall close to 136,000 viewers attended the screenings of 268 feature films and documentaries.
Pavla Fleischer is a young documentary maker who was born here in Prague but has been living in London half her life. Her best known project is the award-winning film Blues on the Beach: it was originally intended to show life could be normal in Israel, but that all changed when a bomb ripped through the bar where she was filming, killing three. When I spoke to Pavla Fleischer at Prague's Café Slavia, she first told me a bit about her father Jan, a director and screenwriter who now teaches in the UK.