Czech literary stars join forces on new book

Katerina Rudcenkova, Anna Cermanova, Jan Jandourek, Milan Urban and Iva Pekárkova, photo: CTK

Two new anthologies of Czech short stories were released on Wednesday in Prague's, 'Palace Luxor' bookshop. Fittingly for somewhere calling itself the capital's 'Palace of Books', the 'Palace Luxor' played host to the Kings, Queens and Princesses of Czech literature, who had all collaborated on the project. Rosie Johnston was at the event:

Katerina Rudcenkova,  Anna Cermanova,  Jan Jandourek,  Milan Urban and Iva Pekárkova,  photo: CTK
Should a bomb have gone off at Wednesday's book launch, it would have been goodbye to new Czech writing for perhaps the next twenty years. Almost grotesque numbers of contemporary Czech authors gathered to sign copies of their new collected works 'Zabij me lip' (meaning 'Kill me better') and 'Uz te nemiluju', which translates, sniff, as 'I don't love you anymore'. The project, organized by publisher Boris Docekal, involved internationally renowned authors such as Ivan Klima, alongside 'new talent', such as Anna Cermanova and the belle of Radio Prague, Katerina Rudcenkova. One of the authors involved was Iva Pekarkova; she told me what she thought about the collaboration:

"I don't really know about what the other authors have written for this project yet, but I definitely am happy that this project gives me the chance to see these people sometimes, and chat face to face. I think this is a really good opportunity for the people involved to get together, because there really is no place in Prague today which you can just walk into and meet other authors, and talk to them. So I think that the publisher Boris Docekal is giving us that sort of forum."

I asked the publisher, Boris Docekal, about the books; and where the idea for them came from:

The books unveiled at Wednesdays signing were the sixth and the seventh in the 'Ceska Povidka' series. 'Zabij me lip' is a collection of horror stories, while 'Uz te nemiluju' focuses upon the breakdown in relations between lovers, newlyweds and families. Both Katerina Rudcenkova and Iva Pekarkova feature in the latter of the two books, I asked them to tell me a little bit about their offerings:

"I was asked to give some story to the publisher, and this story is a funny story, I think, about a misunderstanding with a boyfriend."

"I wrote a story of a woman, who just like many other women in the 70's and 80's, felt really very bad about still being a virgin at around 16 or 17 years old. So she desperately tries to lose her virginity, and she eventually manages thanks to some very strange man, who in the end emigrates to Austria, but not before getting her pregnant."