Ludvík Kundera awarded Seifert prize
The Czech poet, playwright and translator Ludvík Kundera was awarded this year’s Jaroslav Seifert prize on Monday recognising his life’s work and contribution to literature. The 89-year-old poet – a cousin of the internationally renowned author Milan Kundera – was given the prize, which includes 250,000 crowns in funds, at the residence of the Prague mayor.
“It wasn’t easy for poets or artists or ordinary people on the wrong side of the regime, especially if you had kids. It wasn’t that they focussed on you, but that they targeted your wife, children, and relatives. This is what was so malicious. Of course in the 1950s, there were executions, but here people were worn away by the regime. The state apparatus didn’t even have to ban you outright: things worked through all kinds of secret phone calls and information: you couldn’t know where you stood, but you knew you were on the outside.”
Nevertheless, Mr Kundera says he was lucky: inspired by other poets, good teachers, friends and contemporaries.
After the fall of Communism, Ludvík Kundera taught at universities both at home and abroad and he has continued to publish with the Brno-based publisher Atlantis.