For over thirty years, the US and UK based publishing house Readers International has been helping to draw attention to the work of writers from countries where they face political pressures, censorship and exile. Over the decades, it has published writing from across the world. One of its founders was Dorothy Connell, who was in Prague recently for the Bookworld book fair. The days of the Cold War, when writers in this part of the world were having to smuggle manuscripts abroad to have any chance of being published, may be long past, but as Dorothy
Haka is a traditional Māori dance, which became world-famous thanks to the New Zealand rugby team All Blacks, who perform the dance during their pre-match ritual. It was recently performed by the Whakaari Rotorua group from New Zealand at the Prague folklore festival. Kristýna Maková met with the group’s leader, Frank Tomas Grapl Junior, who has both Māori and Czech roots. She first asked him what kind of music they brought to the Czech Republic:
One of the greatest British novelists of the 20th century, Graham Greene, is the subject of a new comic book by a French scenarist and a US artist. Translated from the French, the title of the just published book is Prague Coup with some of the key episodes focused on Greene’s short visit to Prague in February 1948 when the communist overthrow of the fragile post war government was underway.
For the second year now the city of Brno has hosted a week-long festival commemorating its rich multicultural past. The Moravian capital, once home to large German and Jewish communities was deprived of its minorities during and in the aftermath of the Second World War. Under the umbrella title “Meeting Brno” the festival’s multiple events try to shed light onto some of the glorious as well as painful moments in the city’s history and discuss the issues of guilt, revenge, justice, forgiveness and reconciliation.
The Czech band Jelen is the fresh winner of the Anděl Award for the best album of 2016. The band plays roots music, inspired by various genres, such as country, folk, bluegrass and blues, and has cultivated a reputation for vibrant live performance. The band’s second album, which received the award, is called Vlčí Srdce or Wolf’s Heart.
Author James Stafford is a big fan of Czech culture and history and recently settled in the Czech Republic with his family. For the past seven years or so, James worked on ‘The Sorrowful Putto of Prague’ an online comic about a somewhat cynical 400-year-old putto who has seen it all in the Czech capital. The graphic novel now been published in Czech by Argo Publishers – a beautiful edition which Czech readers can look forward to snapping up. A treat, is how it was described by Samuel L. Jackson.
The Czech illustrator Miroslav Šašek produced delightful and evocative books that introduced generations of children to some of the world’s great cities and countries. The fact he spent most of his life in exile has meant that his renown is perhaps greater internationally than in his native country. But in recent years that has finally been changing.