Welsh writer John Bills currently resides in Prague, but his fondness for Central and Eastern Europe stretches beyond the borders of the Czech Republic. So far beyond, in fact, that he’s written a 600-page book dedicated to history’s greatest Slavs, wryly titled An Illustrated History of Slavic Misery.
An exhibition of work by the major Czech modernist painter František Kupka has just got underway at the National Gallery in Prague. Entitled František Kupka 1871–1957, it is the first retrospective of the artist’s work since the 1989 exhibition in Paris and covers his entire career, from symbolism to abstraction.
The Czech pop-rock group Chinaski formed way back in the late 1980s and though they didn’t find a broad audience until the mid-2000s, they have consistently been one of the country’s most popular groups ever since. This autumn they will set off on a tour around the Czech Republic that will take them to a number of cities and towns where they either haven’t previously appeared or haven’t played in a long time.
Hip Hop Kemp, the largest music festival of the genre in Central and Eastern Europe officially kicks off on Thursday night at the massive open-air site Festivalpark on the outskirts of Hradec Králové. But thousands of fans, including hundreds from abroad, particularly Poland, have already begun descending on the city. Along the way, scores have found themselves caught up in police searches for illegal drugs and contraband.
British author Nigel Peace has just published a powerful love story set against the background of the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact. The novel is based on the author’s own personal experience of being torn apart from his first love by the communist regime. I spoke to Nigel Peace shortly before his new book came out, about his memories of the time and what made him write his soul-searching novel half a century later.
The biggest public event marking the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Czechoslovakia was a concert that filled Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Tuesday evening. The culmination of the free show came with Marta Kubišová’s rendition of A Prayer for Marta, a song that came to symbolise the 1968 invasion.