Possibly the best-known living Czech writer, Milan Kundera, will receive the State Prize for Literature on Thursday for his famous work "The Unbearable Lightness of Being". The novel was first published in French in 1984, but the official Czech edition didn't appear in this country until last year, to great acclaim. However the 78-year-old writer, who emigrated to France in the 1970s, has what can best be described as a difficult relationship with his homeland, and will not attend Thursday's prize-giving ceremony. Rob Cameron spoke to literary
In 2006, photographer Jan Reich's publication Bohemia - an extensive series of artistic landscapes throughout the Czech Republic - won the main prize in the country's prestigious literature competition Magnesia Litera. But some critics still consider his best series to be "Disappearing Prague" - a project the photographer began in the 1970s capturing the genius loci of some of Prague's oldest and most run-down districts. Scenes from the periphery in the years following the Soviet-led invasion in 1968: the docks of old Holesovice, ruined facades
The Orloj, or Astronomical clock, on the Old Town Square is one of Prague's major tourist attractions. Every hour, the square fills with tourists who watch two small windows on the clock tower, waiting for the regular procession of apostles. Recently, however, the walls of the clock tower have grown increasingly damp and conservationists fear that dust from the moist plaster might cause mechanical problems for the ancient clockwork.
Karel Kryl, singer, songwriter and poet, was the most prominent Czech folk musician of the last fifty years. His well-known songs are to this day sung in pubs and around campfires, even by those of the younger generation of Czechs who grew up after his death. Born in Kromeriz in 1944, he began writing and performing after graduating from secondary school, and was later expelled from army service for performing songs deemed to be anti-socialist. He was exiled from Czechoslovakia in 1970, but continued to write, produce and perform until his return
This Tuesday sees the opening of the 11th Jihlava film festival. The festival in the small town where Bohemia meets Moravia is one of the biggest of its kind in central and eastern Europe. Dedicated to screening fresh new documentary films, it aims to provide an alternative outlet to more popular cinemas and to Czech television, where such films are rarely shown.
One of the highlights of Prague's cultural calendar in recent years has been the Music on Film Film on Music (MOFFOM) festival. It brings together often hard to find music documentaries, and also features live concerts and other events. The 2007 MOFFOM has just got underway, and continues until Sunday. On the eve of the festival, programme director Keith Jones explained how it had changed since its inception in 2004:
The 17th Century Czech philosopher and scholar Jan Amos Komensky, or Comenius, is an iconic figure in this country, and is famous throughout the world for his influential work. Know as 'The Teacher of Nations', his name has been adopted by UNESCO for one of its most prestigious awards, and perhaps more fittingly, by the National Comenius Pedagogical Library in Prague. That's where a new exhibition opened this week, aiming to acquaint students and other users of the library with Komensky's life and work - with a special focus on his role as a
The winners and runners-up in the prestigious Press Czech Photo 2007 - excellence in Czech photography in categories in everything from current affairs to nature to sport were announced on Wednesday, with the grand prize awarded to Dan Materna of the Czech daily Mlada Fronta Dnes. He won for a picture that shocked many in the Czech Republic earlier this year.
Today's guest for One on One is Ales Brezina, the head of the Bohuslav Martinu Institute in Prague. Mr. Brezina has spent the last twelve years compiling, annotating and publicizing the work of Martinu - perhaps the greatest Czech composer of the 20th century. But that's not all he's been up to. Mr. Brezina is a composer in his own right, providing the soundtrack for films such as 'Musime si pomahat' (or 'Divided We Fall') by Jan Hrebejk, and Jiri Menzel's 'Obsluhoval jsem anglickeho krale' ('I served the King of England'). As if that wasn't enough,