As you may know, an international marathon of readings from Czech and Slovak literature started on Friday in Prague, and it is continuing in a kind of global relay race at 17 Czech Centres in 15 countries around the world. Alena Skodova has the details:
Any idea what that language is? Actually, it's Bulgarian. Since moving on from Prague on Saturday, the readings have continued in Bratislava, Budapest and right now the "literary baton" has been passed to the Bulgarian capital Sofia. According to the main organizer of the whole event, Karel Srp from the Czech Jazz Section, Sofia has broken the record for the number of readers: there are so many people in Bulgaria taking Czech and Slovak studies that the usual 15 minute blocks have been shortened, to give everybody who is interested a chance to read. The next city to host the marathon will be Moscow, and on Tuesday morning it will move to Kiev in Ukraine.
Although the readers include well known personalities, most of them are just ordinary people. I went to see the part of the marathon taking place in Prague on Saturday morning, and spoke with one of the readers, student Barbora Svobodova. What book did she choose for her reading?
"I've chosen Filip Topol, 'Narod psich vojaku' - that's 'A Nation of Dog's Soldiers'..."
"Because that's also a group that Filip Topol has, and I really like this group, but I think that his poetry is very nice, it's very important for me, so I wanted that everybody could hear it..."
And tell us about your relation to literature, what do you read? Do you read poetry or fiction?
"I mostly read poetry, and I like Jacque Prevert, Filip Topol as I said, and I like poetry of my friends, too, because I have some friends-poets, it depends on which mood I have..."
So tell us something about your poetry.
"I used to write a lot of haiku, it's a Japanese form, but now I decided to write longer poems, and I really enjoy it..."
You, too, can follow the readings from Czech and Slovak literature, as in each city it will be read in the language of the respective country. The whole relay is being broadcast live on the Internet at www.nonstopczech.cz and www.czech.cz You can hear excerpts read in English in New York on June 5th from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. local time and the marathon will continue in London on June 5th and 6th between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. GMT. The whole thing ends back in Prague on June 8th.