The Book of Prague - Manchester Launch

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17 November 2023

International Anthony Burgess Foundation, 3 Cambridge St, Manchester M1 5BY

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About the event

The winner of two Magnesia Litera Awards Marek Šindelka, the book´s co-editor Jan Zikmund and writer Veronika Bendová will launch an anthology of short stories by the ten of city´s most famous writers, including the illustrious Bohumil Hrabal, that present Prague in a completely new light. Away from the Old Town Square, these stories take us into less-visited corners of Prague: from the steep streets of the proudly edgy Žižkov neighbourhood, to the flood-ravished suburb of Karlín, from the tensions experienced by the city’s Romani community to the dehumanising post-war redevelopment of areas like Libeň proving that there are always sides to a city’s character you would never have imagined. A discussion chaired by Ra Page, editor in chief of Comma Press.

Veronika Bendová (1974) was born in Prague and has spent her whole life there. She studied film screenwriting and dramaturgy at the FAMU film academy in the city and has devoted most of her adult life to raising her five children. She made her literary debut in 2012 with the novel Nonstop Eufrat, which has been translated into Spanish. She followed this in 2019 with Vytěženej kraj (A Depleted Land), which was shortlisted for the prose category of the Magnesia Litera Award. She also occasionally publishes short stories. She currently works as an editor at the Twentieth Century Memorial Museum, an institution documenting and preserving the memory of regimes and events in the former Czechoslovakia.

Marek Šindelka (1984) studied Cultural Studies at Charles University in Prague and screenwriting at the FAMU film academy. His debut poetry collection, Strychnin a jiné básně (Strychnine and Other Poems, 2005), won the Jiří Orten Award for writers under thirty. His novels and short story collections have been translated into several languages, including English, French and Dutch, and have won two Magnesia Litera awards. The short story “Realities” featured in this book comes from his collection of interlinked short stories Mapa Anny (A Map of Anna, 2014).

Paul Kaye (1969) was born in Bolton in the UK, and after studying biology and French at university, moved to Bratislava, Slovakia, shortly after the break-up of Czechoslovakia. While teaching English he began picking up the local languages, later moving into radio journalism and translation. He then worked for a decade as an environment policy journalist in Brussels, where he lives and now works as a translator for the European Union.

Jan Zikmund (1992) works for the Czech Literary Centre where he is primarily responsible for the promotion of Czech literature in English-speaking countries. He is also an editor of the English-language literary magazine B O D Y. He is currently a member of the jury of the Magnesia Litera Award for Poetry, the most prestigious Czech literary award.