Tag Archives: Milan Kundera

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The American compulsion to write autobiographical novels is a literary dead end Almost exactly a year ago, with the PEN World Voices Festival of international literature taking place I used the occasion of reviewing Dalkey Archive’s Best European Fiction 2011 to prop up the Berlin Wall I thought of as separating European and American fiction. […]

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Prague Writers’ Festival 2012

The Prague Writers’ Festival (PWF) kicks off on April 14 with a typically diverse and impressive list of writers coming to Prague to read and discuss their work. Festival director Michael March sees the event as an opportunity to acquaint the local audience with some major talents that are far less-known here than they should […]

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The lackluster marriage of philosophy and the novel

In the Financial Times novelist Jennie Erdal poses the question of whether it’s still possible to write philosophical novels the way Dostoevsky and Tolstoy once did. While it is quite easy to disagree with her premise and point out any number of philosophical novels being written today, the article is indicative of a much deeper […]

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Czech writers being (re)discovered

The varied world of Czech literature, past and present, contains a vast store of work virtually unknown outside of the Czech Republic Nothing lasts forever, and the recent losses of Václav Havel and Josef Škvorecký emphasize the finitude of what was probably the greatest generation of Czech writers. Fortunately, there are numerous younger writers whose […]

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Martin Ryšavý wins Škvorecký Prize for Czech literature

An article in Czech Position on the 2011 Josef Škvorecký Prize going to Czech novelist, screenwriter and documentary filmmaker Martin Ryšavý for his novel Vrač. Continue Reading

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Kafkaesque

It begins in Prague’s Old Town of the well-known cobblestone, labyrinthine streets, where Franz Kafka was born and raised, but in this case refers more to the city of crystal ashtrays, miniature stone Golems, Kafka tee-shirts and guided tours. As the editors of “Kafkaesque: Stories Inspired by Franz Kafka” point out in their introduction, “we […]

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An exciting time for Czech literature

Czech writers such as Milan Kundera, Bohumil Hrabal and Josef Škvorecký were an imposing presence in world literature in the last few decades of the 20th century. Today, a new generations of Czech novelists is beginning to make its mark. Coming off a recent appearance at the International Literature Festival Berlin, novelist Tomáš Zmeškal spoke […]

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Slowness: the exhibition

A New York gallery presents an exhibition of art inspired by the concepts behind Milan Kundera’s 1995 novel “Slowness” The writing of Milan Kundera has had considerable influence in the world of literature since his first novel “The Joke” was published to international acclaim in 1967. Kundera has also written extensively on music, film and […]

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Reading literary nihilists in Tehran

One might be tempted to think that literature commonly characterized as absurdist or nihilist would not get much official attention in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Still less would anyone think that it could serve as a springboard to reaching the rarefied heights of literary prizes. Yet, as absurd and potentially nihilistic as it sounds, […]

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Literary map of Prague

In a bid to obtain the status of a “UNESCO Creative City of Literature,” Prague’s Municipal Library has put a literary map of the city online that locates both Czech and international writers in various parts of the city. At the moment the map is only in Czech (which I would think might hinder their […]

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