Ivan Klima receives Franz Kafka prize

Ivan Klima (left), photo: CTK

This week, has been a lucky week for Czech writer Ivan Klima. Not only was he given a Medal for Outstanding Service to the Czech Republic by Czech President Vaclav Havel, but he was also chosen as the recipient of the Franz Kafka literary prize. The Franz Kafka prize - the only international honour awarded in the Czech Republic to outstanding contemporary writers from around the world was established last year when it was given to U.S. author Philip Roth. This year, the jury chose to honour the 71 year old Ivan Klima, who as a writer, essayist, and columnist is one of the most widely translated contemporary Czech authors. Pavla Horakova attended the award ceremony and congratulated Mr Klima on his prizes:

Ivan Klima (left), photo: CTK
This week, has been a lucky week for Czech writer Ivan Klima. Not only was he given a Medal for Outstanding Service to the Czech Republic by Czech President Vaclav Havel, but he was also chosen as the recipient of the Franz Kafka literary prize. The Franz Kafka prize - the only international honour awarded in the Czech Republic to outstanding contemporary writers from around the world was established last year when it was given to U.S. author Philip Roth. This year, the jury chose to honour the 71 year old Ivan Klima, who as a writer, essayist, and columnist is one of the most widely translated contemporary Czech authors. Pavla Horakova attended the award ceremony and congratulated Mr Klima on his prizes:

"Both are in some way estimating my work because even the state prize was for my literary merits. I am not used to many prizes so for me it's something very extraordinary and I am looking forward to my normal work."

Do translators ever contact you for help?

"Some of them yes - some of my Swedish, Danish, English and very often German translators but most of them don't. There are some who I haven't even met. I don't even know their names now."

Do you think that writers have it difficult after the fall of Communism?

"Not me. I was banned and forbidden under the old regime so I couldn't earn any money here, only from my foreign relatives. So now it's much easier even in my country. I guess most writers have to work and write for TV, the radio, and for newspapers. The fee for a book is very low in our country and one gets almost nothing for poetry. For unknown young writers the realities are difficult. Therefore, everything that is written is of a level that it is published."