A month ago the English translation of Rustic Baroque by Czech writer Jiří Hájíček came out in the Czech Republic. The book won the prestigious Litera Magnesia prize in 2006, and has received international recognition as well. A historical novel that reveals the complexities and struggles of the time of collectivization in Czechoslovak countryside in the 1950’s, Rustic Baroque also shows how modern Czech society is still influenced by those events.
It was almost two years ago that then-fresh graduate Nina Mainerová set out with a colleague to open a professional architectural studio. But soon after their launch, the bills piled up and they were forced to modify their plans. First, they began offering preparatory classes for students applying to university; then they extended their workshops to include drawing and painting.
Among the organizations keeping the legacy of the country’s first post-communist president alive is the Václav Havel Library, which was established back in 2004 but has boosted its activities since he passed away in December last year. This year the Václav Havel Library began expanding – starting the process of opening a branch in the United States. Masha Volynsky reports.
This week the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague launched a new exhibition highlighting the fascinating history of the Matchbox brand – the famous die-cast toy cars. Matchbox and similar toy cars, traditionally referred to in Czech as Angličáci, have long proven popular here and there is no question the show will be a hit with families as well as collectors.
A tapestry dedicated to the late Czech president Václav Havel and financed by some of the world’s biggest rock stars was unveiled on Sunday at Prague’s recently renamed Václav Havel Airport. The massive artwork is based on a tribute to Mr. Havel by the Czech-born illustrator Peter Sís, while its creation was overseen by Amnesty International.
The Czech bluegrass band Druhá tráva has just released a new album Telč. One part of the album captures the band’s concert at a summer festival in the town of Telč last year, the other – coming out in a limited edition – contains songs Druhá Tráva’s recorded live with their friends and collaborators including Peter Rowan and Charlie McCoy.
Ever since Jaroslav Hašek first thought him up in the early 1920s, the “Good Soldier Švejk” has been one of the best loved characters in Czech literature, as he passively and comically undermines the authority of the Austrian monarchy. In Czech Books this week, David Vaughan meets one of the foremost Švejkologists from outside the Czech Republic.