It is not often that we have a guest on Czech Books who studied at military academy, but that is the case of our guest today, the novelist, poet and publisher, Martin Reiner, from the Czech Republic’s second city, Brno. We shall be looking not just at Martin’s unusual literary career, but also at his home town’s special relationship to poetry.
Prague’s National Theatre is one of the most important cultural institutions in the Czech Republic. Located by the River Vltava at the end of Narodni trida, the 19th century Neo-Renaissance building, with its distinctive gilded cupola, is also one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks. But today it is landmark in need of a facelift. Some work has already begun on the roof, while the main reconstruction work on its facades will get underway in around a year and a half’s time.
At this time of year, Prague’s cemeteries are carpeted with red and yellow leaves, and in this chilly weather, you are quite unlikely to bump into that many other visitors. Prague’s thirty-or-so city maintained cemeteries offer a step back from the hustle and bustle and traffic jams of the metropolis - and provide the visitor with a glimpse into the Czech capital’s history as well.
Jaroslav Jezek, who died in wartime exile in New York at the age of just 35, is one of the legends of twentieth century Czech music. He is best known for the songs he composed for the famous pre-war satirical cabaret, the Liberated Theatre, and he was also one of the pioneers of Czech jazz, fearlessly crossing the borders between popular and classical music. In November 1934, the young composer – he was 28 at the time - came into the radio and talked about jazz.
This month, the first lesbian publishing house opened in the Czech Republic. LePress has a portfolio of two titles so far, both translations from American originals. The aim of the publishers is to introduce Czech lesbians to the sort of lesbian fiction that is being written overseas. The woman behind the project is Marketa Navratilova. She told Radio Prague where the idea came from:
Originally from Olomouc, central Moravia, singer-songwriter Jaroslav Hutka established himself as one of the most original figures in Czech folk music in the late 1960s. In 1978, he was forced out of the country by the communist regime only to return in November 1989 when he became one of the faces of the Velvet Revolution.
The emotional story of Marcela, a woman whose marriage and divorce, as well as loss of her daughter were captured on film, won the award for best European documentary at the Sevilla Film Festival on Saturday. Originally a part a series “Studies in Marriage”, the film follows the fortunes and misfortunes of Marcela through long-term observance technique – a style typical for director Helena Trestikova. Talking to Radio Prague, Ms Trestikova said that the film’s success in Sevilla had come as a pleasant surprise.
Albrecht of Wallenstein (or Waldstein) was without question one of the most important figures in 17th century Bohemia, a Czech nobleman and military leader who made his strongest mark as an Imperial commander in the Thirty Years War. This Thursday, the Waldstein Riding School sees the opening of an unprecedented new exhibition looking at his life and times. The show, called “Albrecht of Waldstein and his Era” brings together more than 700 items, from works of art (including busts, portraits, military scenes) to weapons, clothing and other artifacts
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