Meeting with Czech Culture Ministry
promotion of translation and publishing of Czech literature
Meeting with Deputy Minister, Mrs. JUDr. Kateřina Kalistová & Mr. Mgr. Radim Kopáč, department of art, literature and book, information collection, regarding the promotion of translation and publishing of Czech literature into foreign languages, and the new structure arrangement of Czech Literature Centre & Moravian Library.
- Petr Stančík:Mummy Mill (Mlýn na mumie, Publisher: Druhé město)
This mystical, gastronomic-pornographic thriller takes us back to 1866. While Europe watches a war brewing between Austria and Prussia, the first Czech mass-murderer starts to wreak havoc in Bohemia. The main character, Commissioner Durman of the Prague criminal investigation police, spends his time both investigating bizarre murder cases, consuming culinary experiments, pining after Miss Silky and having sex in spiritualist brothels. The fantastic plot takes us to the catacombs beneath Hradčany, Prague's Castle District, to the glittering boulevards of imperial Paris, to secret tombs inside Mexican pyramids as well as to a bloody battlefield near Hradec Králové. Rich in events and paved by mysteriously mutilated dead bodies, the novel leads us to a surprising twist at the end. And it is only just before the end that the reader learns why the novel is called Mummy Mill.
Petr Stančík was awarded the Magnesia Litera Award and the Audiobook of the Year Prize for his novel Mummy Mill. His books have been translated into Spanish, Polish, Bulgarian and Hungarian.
- Radka Denemarková:A Contribution to the History of Joy (Příspěvek k dějinám radosti, Publisher: Host)
The suicide of a wealthy aging man soon proves to be suspicious. A perceptive police officer searches tirelessly for the true reasons behind the strange death, leading him to a mysterious house under Petřín Hill. Mysteries and motives mount up, as do the hours spent with the young widow. However, there are three, possibly four, main characters, women, educated, fearless and dedicated to a higher justice, under which the victim and the perpetrator lose their initial duality. And a pressing question keeps echoing: how many wars and violence do we have to endure before all these disasters finally turn men into human beings? However, the author's grotesque novel, which flows like lava, also deals with the need for touch as "bodies do not lie and their memory does not deceive". The lead role, in the true sense of the word, is taken by free beings - chirping swallows - for whom kindness is stronger than any laws handed down by rulers.
Radka Denemarková has been awarded the Magnesia Litera Award three times - for fiction, for translation and for journalism, as well as the Annual Award of the Mladá Fronta publishing house. Her texts have been translated into seventeen languages, including Chinese.
- Miloš Urban:The Seven Churches (Sedmikostelí, Publisher: Argo)
Seven churches and a series of horrifying murders. Autumn's shadow has fallen over Prague and people begin to die according to a mysterious counting rhyme. The blame is laid on the shoulders of an innocent - a man without job or future, only a talent he is unable to sell and a love for a city dying in front of his eyes. The suffering split him into a thousand and one pieces, but somebody made the effort to collect the pieces, clean them and melt them into shards: out of these, he glued together a glass golem, the revealer of the truth, which you can read like a crystal ball. Who is the murderer and who is the victim? Who is guilty and who closed their eyes to the truth? When did history lose its way and when will it find it again? The answer is hidden in The Seven Churches, an existential horror story about the city upon the Vltava River, a novel re-gothicizing an ancient genre.
Miloš Urban was awarded the Magnesia Litera Award for fiction and the Most Beautiful Czech Book Prize.
His books have been translated into German, Spanish, Dutch, Hungarian, Russian and Italian.
- Patrik Ouředník:Europeana (Publisher: Paseka)
Ouředník's text teeters on the boundary between literature and belles-lettres and is written a deceptively naïve tone. It is a provocative attempt to present the world of the twentieth century as the bloodiest century of human history in a single, compact form - a bizarre chronicle of wars, murder, ideological currents and inventions - using an assemblage of fictitious episodes, documentary elements, historical dates, reflections and paraphrases. What is the truth: is it the historical truth, the literary truth of the text, the truth of utopias, the truth of memory?
According to the statistics, Europeana is the most translated Czech book published after 1989. The book was the winner of the Christmas survey of the most interesting books 2001 and was nominated for the Magnesia Litera Award for fiction. Patrik Ouředník was awarded the State Prize for literature, the Tom Stoppard Prize, the Josef Jungmann Prize and the Czech Radio Prize. His books have been translated into thirty languages.
- Zdeněk Jirotka:Saturnin (Publisher: Karolinum)
This well-known and humorous book has already entertained several generations of readers. Reading it, you will discover what happens when your loyal manservant Saturnin makes you move from a comfortable flat to a boat, where you will be visited by your Aunt Catherine, incessantly quoting proverbs, and her son Milouš, and what comes to pass at Grandpa's, whose house is temporarily cut off from the civilised world by a flood. Luckily, Saturnin's dazzling wit is able to cope with all the mishaps, disasters and Aunt Catherine's pretences. His abilities make him almost a genius, while totally simplistic, as Grandpa describes Saturnin in his letter: "There is a piece of poetry in the fellow's wild ideas; his humour, fancy and dazzling leaps of thoughts can make a mystery story out of a train schedule and one feels that one wouldn't have grown so old if one had only not forgotten to play."
The novel Saturnin ranked first in the Book of My Heart survey (the Czech Reader's Favourite Book Prize). The novel has been translated into English, German, Spanish, Italian and Latvian.
- Karel Jaromír Erben:Czech Fairy Tales (České pohádky, Publisher: Albatros)
A beautiful book by the great Czech story collector Karel Jaromír Erben. In addition to classical fables, such as Goldilocks, The Old Wise Man and Three Golden Hairs, Otesánek, Cook, Mug, Cook and The Sense and the Luck, the collection also contains some less known works (The Twins, The Water of Life, The Twelve-Headed Dragon and others).
For centuries, virtually since the dawn of time, fairy tales were invented in a popular setting, mostly in villages, far away from the educated urban environment. Many of them disappeared. Their plots often changed or were expanded. Eventually, several enthusiasts interested in and specialising in folk tales appeared, young Karel Jaromír Erben among them. He listened to the shepherds and women working at fields and telling tales and singing songs in the countryside. He wanted to show that it is the Czech fairy tales and songs which present the miraculously beautiful picture of the Czech people's creative power and everyday life. His approach to fairy tales was influenced by the German romantic authors, the Brothers Grimm.
Books by Karel Jaromír Erben have been translated into Chinese, English, Japanese, German, French, Spanish, Russian, Esperanto, Slovak, Slovenian, Serbian, Croatian, Italian, Hungarian and Polish.
- Václav Cílek:Makom (Publisher: Dokořán)
The word "makom" comes from the Hebrew. It means a place, but more of a place in one's heart, as the Universe is (as they say) mostly about relationships. In the Kabbalah, the meaning of the word "makom" is of even greater importance as it represents the sixth heaven, where everything is predestined. In the centre of the sixth heaven there is a dark chasm called Daat Berija, out of which a voice emerges, imparting knowledge. However, this book has a simpler goal. The first section refers to real places, the magical forest at Kuks, the palladium in Stará Boleslav, the Vojtech Steelworks in Kladno, as well as situations where the Balkans are more important than Europe as a whole. In these we ask ourselves where we are living and where we come from. In the second part, called Zeitgeist, we are more interested in the time in which we are currently living and where we are heading. The third section, called The Gods, the Buddhas and the Dwarves, deals mostly with dwarves and with things which transcend us and do not fit into our everyday life.
Václav Cílek has been awarded the Tom Stoppard Prize, the Golden Ribbon Prize, the Egon Erwin Kisch Prize, the Raven Prize, the Miroslav Ivanov Prize and The Czech Society of Sherlock Holmes Prize. His books have been translated into English.
- Stanislav Komárek:The Male as an Evolutionary Innovation (Muž jako evoluční inovace, Publisher: Academia)
What are the ethologies and life strategies of the members of male sex among humans and in the animal kingdom? How do male societies actually function and what makes them emotionally cohesive? Is Western society witnessing the twilight of traditional masculinity and where has masculinity retreated to or how has it been transformed? How did the state change from what was once a harsh Vaterland, demanding sacrifice, into a ubiquitously caring Mutterland? Is the main reason the Islamic State appears so threatening the fact that no such transformation has occurred there? Is the Western world slowly "fading away" and heading for extermination through too much affluence, linked to the ever lower birth rates? To what extent are the differences between sexes hereditary and how much is determined by culture? Is there a "crisis of femininity" running parallel to the "crisis of masculinity"?
Stanislav Komárek was awarded the Tom Stoppard Prize. His books have been translated into English, German and Arabic.
Graphic novels / Comics
- Jan Novák - Jaromír Švejdík:Zátopek (Publisher: Paseka)
"What distinguishes a boy from a man is the boundary of pain and suffering," Emil Zátopek used to say. It was the stretching of the limits of what was possible for his own body which made him into a phenomenal runner and one of the most famous sportsmen in history. He did not consider winning the 10,000-metre run at the Olympic Games in London in 1948 and coming second in 5000-metre run to be a great success. He took three gold medals at the next Olympic Games in Helsinki and became a legend, while adding an even more important victory to his collection -standing up for his colleague Stanislav Jungwirth against the communist regime and forcing it to allow Jungwirth to participate in the Olympic Games. Thanks to Jan Novák's libretto and Jaromír 99's visually intoxicating rendition, we can once again live out Emil Zátopek's greatest successes and his introduction to the love of his life, Dana.
Jan Novák was awarded the Magnesia Litera Award for the book of the year and the Josef Škvorecký Prize. His books have been translated into Hungarian, Polish, German and Bulgarian; some of his titles were written directly in English. Comics or graphic novels drawn by Jaromír Švejdík have been translated into English, German, French and Serbian.
- Jiří Grus - Vojtěch Mašek - Džian Baban:The Dragon Never Sleeps (Drak nikdy nespí, Publisher: Trutnov - město draka)
The comics album The Dragon Never Sleeps is a retelling of a medieval legend about the foundation of the town of Trutnov. As the legend tells us, in 1006 AD Duke Oldřich, the first ruler of Bohemia, sent Sir Albrecht of Trautenberg to the north of the country, into the deep woods at the foothills of the Krkonoše Mountains, to secure the merchant roads threatened by highwaymen and to settle the country at the upper reaches of the Úpa River. Once he and his people had set up the first camp, a monster appeared at the bottom of a deep gorge - a great dragon lurking in shadows. However, Albrecht's story is no traditional folk tale about a knight fighting a dragon. The most intriguing aspect of the Trutnov legend is that Sir Albrecht does not face the dragon alone, but alongside his people. It is around this remarkable detail that the authors have spun their version of the story.
Jiří Grus, Vojtěch Mašek, as well as Džian Baban were awarded the MURIEL Prize for comics. Their books have been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and Polish.
- Lucie Lomová:Annie and Joe (Anča a Pepík, Publisher: Práh)
The adventures of two clever mice, Annie and Joe, were published in the popular comic magazine Čtyřlístek throughout the 1990s. One of the best Czech comics for children, Annie and Joe were drawn and scripted by Lucie Lomová. Readers can live out the various adventures of mouse-girl Annie and a mouse-boy Joe, taking place both in their real lives, such as at a summer camp, at a puppet show, on a hike or at a circus, as well as in the world of fantasy. The two mice face evil, injustice, even common fraud, but in the end, all the threads are untangled and good prevails. There are also stories full of magic and unbelievable events, transporting the reader to the world of fairies, nymphs and evil witches.
Lucie Lomová was awarded the MURIEL Comics Prize and the Golden Ribbon Prize. Her books have been translated into Chinese, English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and Russian.
Books for children and young adults
- Pavel Šrut - Galina Miklínová:The Odd-Eaters I-III (Lichožrouti I-III, Publisher: Paseka)
It is the most dexterous thief of all time and has never yet been caught. Maybe even you lost one of your socks yesterday or are losing it right now. Whose fault is it? The Odd-Eater! A mysterious, sock-eating creature turns pairs into odd socks. Their secret world was penetrated by the author/illustrator duo, Pavel Šrut and Galina Miklínová, who have returned with a gripping and funny story about a family of Odd-Eaters, the old bachelor Mr. Vavřinec and little butter-fingered Hihlík the Odd-Eater.
The second instalment of the story about the Odd-Eaters' secret lives splits into two storylines, with the plots intertwining and often becoming completely snarled. In the third and final instalment, the now more mature Hihlík and his friends Ramík, Kawa and Bumka face a far greater danger than any so far...
Pavel Šrut was awarded the State Prize for literature and for his translations, the Magnesia Litera Award for his book for children and young adults, the Jaroslav Seifert Prize, the Golden Ribbon Prize, the Annual Award of the Czech Literary Fund Foundation for his creative work for the theatre and the radio and the Knihopábitel Prize. The Odd-Eaters are the Book of the Decade for Children according to the Magnesia Litera Association Survey. His books have been translated into Japanese, French, Serbian, Polish, Slovenian, Spanish, Dutch, Slovak and Bulgarian.
- Ivana Pecháčková:The Legend of the Golem, The Legend of St. Wenceslas (Legenda o Golemovi, Legenda o sv. Václavovi, Publisher: Meander)
The novella entitled The Legend of the Golem adapts a well-known legend about the creation of an artificial being - the Golem. The story blends with other legends about Rabbi Löw and his mysterious homunculus and tells a tale of Prague as a city of tolerance where, in the times of Emperor Rudolf II, members of different European nations and confessions met and lived side by side, but also where members of the Christian majority and Jewish minority were closely associated. A novella with a Faust-like punchline, the Legend of the Golem tells a story about the eternal human desire for knowledge, love and happiness. The legend is accompanied by impressive illustrations by Petr Nikl. The novella called The Legend of St. Wenceslas tells the story of Prince Wenceslas, the patron saint of the Czech lands. The St. Wenceslas tradition dates almost as far back as the origins of the Czech state - over one thousand years ago. We can therefore retell the story of St. Wenceslas's life, his deeds and also about the miraculous palladium of Bohemia which Prince Wenceslas used to carry on his person.
Ivana Pecháčková was awarded the Czech Bestseller Readers' Prize . Her books have been translated into English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Slovak.
- Dagmar Urbánková:The Masques (Maškary, Publisher: Baobab)
This book/toy by the illustrator, writer and scenographer Dagmar Urbánková is based on the rewarding concept of pre-cut pages, allowing the reader to construct and combine figures that are intimately associated with masque processions and carnivals. Inside, children can find costumes from the ancient times, recent history and the present day. In addition to animals, there are popular literary and film characters (Fantomas, Pippi Longstocking, Marge Simpson, Harry Potter, etc.). The book is a sample book of art forms (drawing, painting, embroidery, collage), a catalogue of fonts from before the computer age (wooden grotesque fonts, decorative Tuscan fonts, clumsy Egyptian fonts) and a rewarding game with words. And finally - create your own masque and a rhyme!
Dagmar Urbánková was awarded the Golden Ribbon Prize. Her books have been translated into English and French.
- Petr Sís:Three Golden Keys (Tři zlaté klíče, Publisher: Labyrint)
Petr Sís's three golden keys to the magical city of Prague. The keys will open mysterious locks to old Prague legends about Bruncvík, the Golem and Master Hanuš and his Astronomical Clock in the Old Town. This new rendition of the original American picture book edition is a full-colour wonder.
Petr Sís ranks among the world's most renowned artists. He has been awarded the Magnesia Litera Prize, the Hans Christian Andersen Prize, the Golden Ribbon Prize and the young readers' SUK - All of Us Read Prize. His books have been translated into English, German, Spanish, French, Korean, Japanese, Slovak, Bulgarian and Russian.
- Petr Stančík:Chrujda the Badger Makes a Movie (Jezevec Chrujda točí film, Publisher: Meander)
When a parrot from the city arrives in the Hornbeam Wood one day, it causes great commotion. All the animals immediately swoon over the parrot's beautifully coloured feathers, while one poor animal, whose fur is only black and white, is dismissed and ignored. This is Chrujda the Badger. But then three black-and-white movie makers - a panda, a zebra and a magpie - come to the Wood to make a black-and-white movie. And who is going to star in it? Who else than our badger... Playfully, the story for young readers teaches us that the things that matter are not to be found in the external appearance of the person or animal, but in their hearts. And that while fashion changes quickly, true friendship stays forever.
Petr Stančík was awarded the Magnesia Litera Award and the Audiobook of the Year Prize. His books have been translated into Spanish, Polish, Bulgarian and Hungarian.
- Eva Maceková:12 Hours with Oscar (12 hodin s Oskarem, Publisher: Baobab)
This large picture album by Eva Maceková guides us through a normal day in the life of five-year old Oscar and his loyal cat. The book records details of an ordinary life through large picture panels full of minor events, it describes things and situations to the youngest of readers which they know intimately (having breakfast, doing the shopping, dreaming, etc.) At the same time, the book prods children to play simple games and teaches them some basic skills in an entertaining manner (counting, tying shoelaces, reading the time on a clock, spatial orientation, etc.). Artistically, the book oscillates between the straightforward matter-of-factness of the Šmalcova Abeceda (Šmalec's Alphabet) and the retro graphical style of the well-known present-day author, Blexbolex. It addresses the reader with a subtle humour full of tiny surprises.
Eva Maceková was awarded the Most Beautiful Czech Book Prize.
- Olga Černá - Michaela Kukovičová:This Is Prague (To je Praha, Publisher: Baobab)
Is Prague still beautiful, amazing, charming? Or has its beauty been trampled down by the feet of the millions of tourists who rush over the cobblestones from the Prague Castle over the Charles Bridge to the Old Town Square and back again? Let's see Prague in a new light. Let's walk through the city with illustrator Michaela Kukovičová and writer Olga Černá. They will lead us to bridges, islands, lookout tower, parks, through the city centre and out to the suburbs. You can learn how many bridges cross the Vltava River, in which house the Devil made a hole, what you can see from Žižkov Tower and where the best open sandwiches (chlebíčky) are to be had. You can read a story about a man who turned into an insect, an ancient tale about the Golem and a heroic tale about Sir Winton, as well as about the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich and how a wonderful president found a shortcut for his walks at the Prague Castle.
Olga Černá was awarded the MURIEL Comics Prize, the Miroslav Ivanov Prize and the Young Readers' SUK - All of Us Read Prize Her books have been translated into English.
- Jiří Dvořák:How Animals Sleep (Jak zvířata spí, Publisher: Baobab)
An atlas of sleeping animals illustrated by Marie Štumpfová and written by Jiří Dvořák. What do animals look like, what do they do, what do they need, what do they think about while sleeping and recovering their strength? Some of them sleep all the time and others almost never. Some sleep under water, some while standing on one leg, one in the snow and another in a scorching desert... The book builds on the popular "genre" of loporellos with animals and is intended for the youngest readers. It invites parents and teachers to participate in an interactive game and encourages children to consider various questions: why do people and animals sleep, what does it mean to have a rest, how and where do individual animals live and what role do they play? A lullaby-book for the youngest readers.
Jiří Dvořák was awarded the Golden Ribbon Prize for his book How Animals Sleep, he was also awarded the Most Beautiful Czech Book Prize and the Young Readers' SUK - All of Us Read Prize.
- Marka Míková:Cracks (Škvíry, Publisher: Argo)
Little Matylda has no idea why she no longer lives with her mother or what happened to her, and she misses her very much. Matylda lives in a tower-block flat with her workaholic daddy who is a film director, and she washes the clothes, cooks, does the shopping and tidies up. She struggles with her daddy's moods and feels very lonely. Her daddy is absorbed in his work and he manages to find almost no time for Matylda, he even came late to a concert where his daughter was playing the piano. However, Matylda does not hold it against him, she is fascinated by her daddy's world of film. While looking for a neighbour's lost ferret one day, Matylda notices a strange crack under the stairs. She steps in it and appears in another world full of pictures of animals and soft music, a world where everything is friendlier and kinder, where all her needs are met and where, at the end of the story, she finds her lost mother and the explanation of why she had to spend her childhood without her...
Marka Míková was awarded the Golden Ribbon Prize, the 2015 Most Beautiful Czech Book Prize and the Young Readers' SUK - All of Us Read Prize.
- Iva Procházková:Knots and Oranges (Uzly a pomeranče, Publisher: Albatros)
Darek, going on fourteen, lives with his father and a younger sister in a mountain village in Moravian Silesia. After the death of his mother, with whom he had very tender and strong relationship, his life changed. He had to give up some of his plans, but greater responsibilities also brought more freedom. Darek is a boy who the readers will like and who is familiar to them, his friends and schoolmates are computer experts and spend their leisure time in the same way as contemporary boys and girls. The story combines adventures with the first tender beginnings of an erotic relationship; the whole being dominated by an adolescent boy's strong wish to be accepted, to be loved and to put right all the cruelties committed against both people and animals. In the novel, the major role belongs to horses - horses as an expression of the desire for exuberance, horses as a commitment, horses as the object of love.
Iva Procházková was awarded the Magnesia Litera Award in the category of books for children and young adults, the Golden Ribbon Award, the Knihopábitel Prize and the Young Readers' SUK - All of Us Read Prize. Her books have been translated into German, French, Italian, Hungarian, Dutch, Danish, Swedish and English.