On Tuesday, poets from all over the world gathered in Prague for the sixth International Poetry Festival to be held in the city. This year, the Czech capital is playing host to poets from sixteen different countries, including Iraq, Jordan, Israel and Portugal. More than ever before, the International Poetry Festival is a melting pot of dozens of different languages, and has translation as one of its key themes. English speakers are by no means left out:
The recently discovered horoscope of Duke Albrecht of Wallenstein is one of the most important of its kind. It surpasses other horoscopes from the period with its detailed explanations of the Duke's life, and its use of the then most contemporary astrological techniques. Created in 1627 by an unknown astrologer, it charts eleven years of the duke's life, and is a document which, if it had fallen into the wrong hands, could have provided what would be regarded as sensitive information to his enemies. The horoscope featuring in a major exhibition
The west Bohemian town of Karlovy Vary (also known as Carlsbad) is well-known as a seat of luxury and wealth. Foreign kings and aristocrats have for centuries been visiting its healing spas, and in more recent times it has played host to the Karlovy Vary film festival, attracting scores of celebrities and famous personalities. It is therefore fitting that it is home to arguably the most prestigious manufacturer of luxury glass in the world - Moser. The company is one of the Czech Republic's finest brand names. And this year, it celebrates its 150th
Roman Zuzuk is a Ukrainian born artist who runs a gallery with his brother Miroslav in Prague's Mala Strana. Roman studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kiev, and came to Prague in 1991 to begin painting professionally. His work features colourful dreamscapes and illogical scenarios, musical themes and interaction between humans and animals. Roman lived in Prague until January 2000 and now resides in Toronto, Canada. He comes back here every year to visit the city, and his gallery. That's where I caught up with him a few days ago.
Petr Zelenka has long been recognised as one of the most talented filmmakers of his generation, whose quirky films including a mockumentary about a famous Czech folk singer have been well received by both critics and wider audiences. This summer, the director completed filming on The Karamazovs, a film - as the title makes explicit - which takes inspiration from Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky's greatest novel, The Brothers Karamazov. Zelenka is now in post-production, but already the film is being viewed with great anticipation, a story which
Vaclav Havel was back in his original role as playwright on Wednesday, when, at a theatre in Prague, the former Czech president presented the book form of "Odchazeni", or "Leaving". The long awaited and widely discussed play will appear in the bookshops in less than a two week's time. However, Mr Havel's first new play in 18 years will not be premiered until the end of May or the beginning of June.
If you were to enter the Salesianske theatre in Kobylisy this week, this is the kind of sound that would greet you. The event is the first annual 'Krajanske Folklorni Festival', or 'Compatriot Folklore Festival' a unique gathering of Czechs and their descendants outside the Czech Republic who practice the traditions of their ancestors, and for whom the Czech lands continue to play a large role in determining their identity.
It would be hard to meet a Czech whose childhood was not touched (perhaps unconsciously) by the art of Jiri Trnka, a painter, puppeteer, illustrator and above all, the founding father of Czech animated film. His poetic drawings brought immortality to books that would otherwise be long forgotten. And his animated films bestowed dozens of puppets and drawings with life.
The 11th Czech Film Festival begins in London on Thursday with a screening of Grandhotel by David Ondricek and a Q+A session with the director. But this year viewers around the UK will have the chance to enjoy movies from this part of the world, as the showcase Made in Prague: New Czech Cinema visits 13 cities in England and Scotland. As final preparations were being made for the touring festival, I spoke to organiser Renata Clark of the Czech Centre in London.
Reading has friends in some very high places here in the Czech Republic. Last week, former president Vaclav Havel and a group of other famous names besides got together to encourage parents to read to their children for at least twenty minutes a day. To support the cause, Mr. Havel and friends chose their own favourite children's book, and read from it, to an audience of young Czechs, up way past their bed time.