Since the fall of communism, Prague has been a very international city, and this has had a deep impact on the city’s literary culture. Many Prague writers today have their roots outside the Czech Republic and are not necessarily writing in the Czech language. At the same time, Czech writers themselves have been strongly influenced by the growing cosmopolitanism of the city, which contrasts starkly with the stifling political atmosphere of the 70s and 80s. In a few weeks’ time Prague’s international literary scene will be celebrated with the publication
Alphonse Mucha’s grandson John Mucha is the head of the Mucha Foundation, which manages the legacy of the great Czech Art Nouveau artist. He launched the successful Mucha Museum in the centre of Prague during the 1990s, and has recently being holding talks with the city’s authorities on the long-delayed creation of a dedicated home for Mucha’s extensive work the Slav Epic.
A new sculpting project is to open up one of the few original streets of Prague’s former Jewish ghetto to the public. Sculptor Aleš Veselý’s “Three Gates” will be located in what used to be the heart of the neighborhood, near Pinkas synagogue. The project is slated to be finished in 2011. Sarah Borufka has the story.
John Mucha is the grandson of the great Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist Alphonse Mucha. His parents are also noteworthy; his late father Jiří was a journalist and writer, while his Scottish mother Geraldine, who is 92, still composes music. John himself heads the Mucha Foundation, which conserves the family’s collection and promotes the artist’s work internationally. His home in the Czech capital, situated opposite the gates of Prague Castle, contains a breathtaking array of Alphonse Mucha memorabilia and artworks and is described
The National Museum has opened a major new exhibit on St. Wenceslas, the patron saint of the Czech lands, who was also one of their earliest and most important rulers. What is particularly significant about this exhibit is that it brings together a collection of the most precious manuscripts and items relating to Saint Wenceslas over the course of roughly 700 years.
Sunday night was the opening night for the top three submissions to this year’s Prague Playwriting Contest at the city’s Divadlo Ponec. The winner of the contest, who will take home a cash prize, will be announced at the closing night next Tuesday. One of the playwrights in the race for the award is Josh Kaston. His submission “The Great Indoors” is set in the rural Southern United States, where a Czech-British couple gets stranded. Sarah Borufka talked to Josh Kaston about the process of seeing his play produced and why he decided to participate
The National Library is currently holding a special exhibit of the work of the first printing press in Bohemia. The seven original works made by anonymous printers in Plzeň in the late 15th century have been out of the public eye for 34 years. Foremost among them is the Trojan Chronicle, which for more than a hundred years has been at the centre of debate over when Czechs first began printing.
My Neighbor, My Killer, which is being screened at the One World festival of human rights documentaries in Prague, focuses on local tribunals called Gacaca set up following the horrific 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Under the Gacaca system, the victims give testimony in front of their communities against the perpetrators, who in many cases live alongside them. I asked the film’s Anne Aghion what had drawn her to the subject.