At a crossroads in Europe, the Czech capital has always been an international city and has attracted writers from many parts of the world. But, despite the rich historical links between the two countries going back to the 16th century and beyond, we would not normally associate modern Prague with Spain. One person who has been building literary Spanish-Czech bridges for the best part of two decades is the Prague based Spanish poet, Elena Buixaderas. She is David Vaughan’s guest in Czech Books.
A new documentary entitled Hledá se prezident (Looking for president) offers an insight into the first ever direct Czech presidential election which brought Miloš Zeman to Prague Castle. The behind-the-scenes film, which has just premiered in Czech cinemas, follows the candidates from the summer of 2012, when the campaign was just beginning, right up to the heated run-off vote in January. I spoke to the film’s director, Tomáš Kudrna, and first asked him about his choice of material that made it to the final cut.
Since it was first created in 2001, the Czech and Slovak Film Database, or CSFD, has gained a massive following in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The largest such website of its kind, it has nearly a quarter of a million entries on films, TV series, actors, directors and so on. A huge community has emerged around the website, with over 220,000 users. In this edition of One on One, we talk to Martin Pomothy, the creator and manager of the database.
Prague-based singer-songwriter, street performer and traveller known as Iamme Candlewick this month released her debut album entitled I Am You. The album, recorded with the help of several renowned musicians, combines Iamme’s distinct voice with an expressive guitar sound, electronica and other styles. Iamme’s music is inspired by (among other things) the author’s travels around the world.
King and King (Koning und Koning), a young children’s book by authors Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland that was first published in Dutch but has since been translated into English and several other languages, is slated to soon get a Czech edition. The children’s book tells the story of young prince Bertie who must marry in order to inherit the kingdom. The twist is that he falls not for the princess but for her brother.
Peter Smith’s guest on One on One this week is Iva Frühlingová – model, singer, actress and author. Born in the town of Litvínov, with a French grandfather Iva dreamed of going places and most of all of seeing Paris – the city she’d heard so much about as a child. Her dream came true at the age of 14 when she first travelled to Paris as a budding model. Today she divides her time between Prague and Paris, engaging in modeling, singing, writing and most recently acting. Peter began by asking her which of those “skins” she felt most at home in.
Martin Hůla, who has been active on Prague’s independent music scene for some years, was in his late 20s when he began rapping under the name Bonus. Following a couple of EPs, he released his debut LP under that moniker, the powerful, abrasive Konec civilizace (The End of Civilisation), in 2010. The following year he won plaudits (and the Apollo album of the year prize) for Náměstí Míru (Peace Square), which took a more song-based approach.
If you have ever used a computer translation program you will know what curious things machines can come up with, as they try to cope with the complexities and ambiguities of the language we use. So how are machines finding their way through the labyrinth of the Czech language? In this week ‘s Czech Books, David Vaughan talks to Ondřej Bojar from the Institute of Formal and Applied Linguistics at Prague’s Charles University.