Renowned authors in Prague for Prague Writer's Festival

Writers and literature have played a crucial role in the development of Czech political, cultural and even economic affairs throughout the last century. The 11th annual Prague Writer's Festival will be held from April 1st to 6th and this year the international lineup will feature works by writers from Israel, Switzerland, and Ireland. Radio Prague's Pavla Navratilova has more.

This six-day festival will bring together some well-known and highly respected writers from around the world. The main theme this year is "humanism" and some of the greatest contemporary authors from Israel, Switzerland and Ireland will host readings and discussion sessions. Czechs will also have the chance to read some of their works, as they have recently been translated into Czech.

The President of the Prague Writer's Festival, Michael March, told me what visitors can expect from this year's festival.

Michael March: It's to do with humanism. It's dedicated to Primo Levi with the title: "If not now, when?"; Levi was one of the great humanists of the 20th century and we've invited writers whose works are similar to Levi's, especially this theme of humanism. We've invited Gore Vidal, Salman Rushdie, Arnost Lustig.

Radio Prague: This is the 11th annual festival; what has the aim of this festival been in past years?

MM: The aim is to present the finest world literature in Prague. And we have, over the course of the years, a better mechanism and greater opportunities through various cultural institutions... We're bringing Prague to the world. We have very well-known writers such as Natan Zach from Israel, Adolf Muschg from Switzerland, and Patrick Mccabe from Ireland, and these are just some of the writers from these countries. Many, many well-known writers that are coming from these countries are not known here. Internationally, they would be extremely well known.

RP: For many Czechs an important factor would be the influence of Czech literature in this festival. How are Czech authors represented in this year's festival?

MM: We have Vladamir Paral this year and Arnost Lustig; we continue to invite the authors that are appropriate for each festival.

RP: How can brining these writers here to this festival influence Czech culture.

MM: Culture takes a great time to develop, and in this case they will be translated into Czech. The works will be available in Czech through a special issue of Pravo. We will expose them to publishers, and dialog will be started. What will come from that, we can't really predict, but our job is to present the writers. It's an extremely exciting festival.

And just as a reminder, The Prague Writers' Festival starts Sunday and runs until April 6th.

Author: Pavla Navrátilová
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