The National Library of Israel has started digitising a long-lost batch of archival materials, belonging to Franz Kafka’s friend Max Brod. They include, among other things, Kafka’s personal diary and a notebook in which he practiced Hebrew. Israel received the missing documents from a Swiss bank in August after years of international searches and legal disputes over the author’s legacy.
An exhibition marking the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution has just got underway at Prague’s Municipal House. Called Nezlomní, or The Steadfast, it showcases the work, but also personal diaries and correspondence, of 30 artists, active between the years 1919 and 1989, including Jindřich Štyrský, Toyen and Karel Nepraš. It also highlights their joint inspiration by the writings of Franz Kafka.
For the Irish poet Michael O’Loughlin, Europe is not just a place on the map. The Europe of his poetry is a labyrinth of ideas, memories and languages. Its borders are permeable and shifting. We sense it is there, yet it remains stubbornly elusive. Michael is in Prague as part of the UNESCO City of Literature programme, and has been reflecting on the city’s place in Europe, as well as his own European identity. He spoke with David Vaughan.
Canadian novelist, poetry writer and essayist, Margaret Atwood, has been chosen as this year’s winner of the Franz Kafka prize. She should be officially presented with the award at a ceremony in Prague in October. The prize to mark the life and works of Kafka has been awarded since 2001. Previous winners include Ivan Klima, Haruki Marukami, and Philip Roth. One of the criteria for the award is the work’s humanistic character.
What will Donald Trump’s presidency mean for Czech-US relations? And is his ex-wife Ivana really in line to become American ambassador to Prague? Ahead of Mr. Trump’s inauguration on Friday I discussed those questions and much more with Daniel Anýž, a well-known commentator on Czech-US affairs who was based in Washington for several years.
The Czech Radio and Television Council has criticized the national broadcaster, Czech public television, for bias and lack of objectivity in reporting on the US presidential elections. The council says Czech Television was clearly biased in favour of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and mixed news and commentary in her favour. The criticism was in reference to a special program broadcast on US election night. It has given the national broadcaster a week to take corrective action, but did not specify what form it should take. Czech Television has dismissed the criticism as unjustified.
US President-elect Donald J. Trump's ex-wife Ivana Trump has told the New York Post she will talk to her ex-husband about the possibility of serving as the next US ambassador to Prague. In the interview published on Friday, the 67-year-old businesswoman suggested that her fluency in Czech as well as name recognition in the country of her birth, could be strong assets. Ivana Trump was born in the former Czechoslovakia in 1949. The possibility of her serving as ambassador was greeted positively in a tweet by Jiří Ovčáček, the spokesman for Czech President Miloš Zeman. The Czech president had backed Mr Trump ahead of his surprise win last Tuesday, when most polls in the US had suggested the presidency would be won by Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton. Clinton won the popular vote but lost in the electoral college.
Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections, in which the Republican nominee defeated Hillary Clinton, has stunned political leaders all around the world. In the Czech Republic, as elsewhere, politicians have mostly reacted with uncertainty about what his victory will mean for the international community, but they also highlighted the fact that the democratic process was respected.
Czech leaders have congratulated Donald Trump on his victory in the US presidential election, saying they are looking forward to continued cooperation between Prague and Washington. But how does the Czech foreign policy community view Mr. Trump’s suggestion on the campaign trail that the US might not necessarily honour NATO’s key Article 5 and come to the defence of another member if it were attacked? I put that question to Petr Kratochvíl, head of Prague’s Institute of International Relations.
Italian scholar, writer, and essayist Claudio Magris will be awarded this year’s Franz Kafka prize in Prague on Thursday. Born in Trieste in 1939, Magris is known for his focus on Central Europe and German. His most famous book, Danube, followed the course of the river through the region. Magris’ work first appeared in Czech in 1992. He will be the 16th winner of the Franz Kafka award, which seeks to give recognition to writers who have followed in the literary path of the celebrated Czech 20th century writer.