Czech Republic to be guest of honour at Leipzig Book Fair

Photo: J. Strauß, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Leipzig Book Fair, one of the most important literary events in the world, gets underway in the East German city this week with the Czech Republic as the main guest of honour. The Czech program will be part of the Czech Year of Culture launched in the city in October last year, celebrating the country’s literature, film, photography, music and design.

Leipzig Book Fair,  photo: J. Strauß,  Wikimedia Commons,  CC BY-SA 3.0
After a break of more than 20 years, the Czech Republic will once again be the guest of honour at the Leipzig Book Fair under the motto Ahoj Leipzig. Czech literature will be showcased at three separate stands at the Leipzig Trade Fairgrounds, presenting 70 books that were translated into German for this occasion.

Professor Tomáš Kubíček, head of the Moravian Library in Brno, which is in charge of the Czech programme, explains the importance of the event for Czech authors:

“Czech authors have always striven to be translated into world languages and Germany is of course the closest to us. For Czech literature, the German market has always been a key both to European and world publishers.

“The Leipzig Book fair is attended by publishers and literary agents from all over the world, who come to select books that will be published in the near future. And the guest country is naturally in the centre of their attention.”

The Czech Republic’s guest of honour programme will feature Czech literature as well as music, art, academic seminars, discussions, and film screenings.

The programme will reflect the main theme of this year’s event, which is 30 years since the fall of the Iron Curtain, says Mr Kubíček.

“Many of the events taking place as part of the Czech programme will be linked to the fall of the Iron Curtain and the end of Communism.

“We will present our main topics in the course of four days. One of the topics will be children’s literature and comics, which is very much in the focus of German publishing houses these days.

Jaroslav Rudiš,  photo: Klára Stejskalová
“Among the other topics is Europe in time of crisis and the 1989 generation, presenting authors who entered the literary scene after the fall of Communism.

“Each of the topics will have its ambassador, such as Jiří Přibáň or Radka Denemarková, who will be available each day to talk with publishers and journalists.”

Among the many authors to present their work at the Leipzig Book Fair this year will be novelists Kateřina Tučková, Jáchym Topol, poets Petr Hruška and Petr Borkovec and playwrights David Drábek and Petr Zelenka.

Among the authors already well-known in Germany will be Jaroslav Rudiš, who will be presenting his first German-written novel called Winterberg’s Last Journey.

The book has already received considerable attention, after being nominated for this year’s annual Leipzig Book Fair Prize, which is considered to be the second most important German book-award.