Today in Mailbox: The American singer Dean Reed in From the Archives, Radio Prague audience in Canada, author Jan Křesadlo in Czech Books, Radio Prague’s annual contest. Listeners quoted: Joe Atkinson, Ralph Francis, Richard Martin, Raymond Mulac, Yukiko Maki.

Thanks for tuning in to Mailbox, Radio Prague’s weekly programme for your views, comments and questions. Joe Atkinson from Brno enjoyed last week’s From the Archives by David Vaughan:

“I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your Radio Prague story about Dean Reed. I too was fascinated a few years back when I picked up a copy of ‘Comrade Rockstar’, the book on which ‘The Red Elvis’ is based, if I'm not mistaken in a Prague bookshop, and couldn't believe that I had never heard of this guy before (I first came to Brno in 1990). I was working as an English teacher at Prague Air Traffic Control Training Centre at the time and mentioned my ‘discovery’ to my students. All of the older ones (especially the female ones!) remembered him with fondness and a couple had even met him at the airport in the early 80s. One of the students brought me her treasured vinyl albums (on Supraphon I guess) to show me.”

Ralph Francis from the Canadian province of New Brunswick told us of his friend who left Czechoslovakia in 1949 and now lives in British Columbia:

“Zdenka is 103 years old. Each day that the Czech Radio news includes some interesting articles following the news, I copy them at 200% font size and mail an envelope of these articles to her every month. She is a remarkable lady, still living alone in her own house, always writing long hand thank you notes in English and Czech. Many of the Czechs living in her town are also recipients of the articles. Although a Canadian for over 60 years she still has good memories of her life in ‘the Old Country’ and remembers events with astounding clarity. Thus, Český rozhlas has a receptive audience for the limited amount of information that I send every month.”

We are very happy to hear that our programmes reach even those who do not listen to shortwave radio or use the internet. Many thanks, Ralph and we are sending our best regards to Zdenka and the rest of the Czech community in her town.

Richard Martin from Pennsylvania responds to a recent Czech Books programme:

“I very much enjoyed the article about [Jan] Křesadlo (Václav Pinkava) and Mrchopěvci (GraveLarks). Unfortunately, it is out of print, and I have been unable to find a bookseller in the US, the UK, or the EU who has or seems to be able to get one.”

I hope you will be able to get hold of the book. By sheer coincidence, I discovered Jan Křesadlo for myself just a few weeks before the programme went on air; I have now read four of his books and can’t wait to read the rest.

Raymond (Bezdek) Mulac listens to our programmes in Illinois:

“I truly enjoy Radio Prague broadcasts and webcasts. Your articles are very thought provoking. Thank you.”

Thank you for listening and letting us know you are out there.

Yukiko Maki is our regular listener in Japan:

“It is surprising to me that the annual competition time has come again this year. I wonder if you remember that I was one of the two finalists from the English Section in last year's competition. I still remember that I wrote most parts of my essay when I stayed at a resort hotel on a distant island of Japan during my vacation time. One year has passed by very quickly since then. I still have not made up my mind to participate again this year. It will take a little more time to think and decide what I want to write about. When a good story comes to mind during my forthcoming holidays, I will send in again this year.”

We’ll be looking forward to receiving your entry. Just a reminder, if you’d like to take part in Radio Prague’s annual listeners’ contest, all you need to do is answer the following question:

What is the most interesting period or event from Czech history for you?

The author of the best submission will win a week-long stay for two in Prague; other interesting responses will be rewarded with material prizes and commemorative items. We will be announcing the best entries in our broadcast and on our website on the last weekend of June. Please send your submissions in by June 12 to the following address: Radio Prague, 120 99 Praha 2, Czech Republic or to our email address [email protected]. The main prize, accommodation in the heart of Prague, will be provided by Hotel Ungelt.

And we still continue in the series of Moravian-born greats in our little quiz.

This month we would like to know the name of the world-renowned physicist who was born in Brno in 1905 and died in 1955 in Zurich and apparently was the only Czech-born person involved in the US WWII Manhattan Project.

As usual, your answers need to reach us by the end of the month at [email protected] or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague. Until next week, take care.