Project Prague City of Literature was founded in 2009. After the lecture of Ali Bowden in Prague a few of the representatives of the Prague literary community agreed to pursue the membership in the UNESCO network. The project has 30 members from the beginning from various literary institutions, magazines, schools, literary awards and festivals, publishers etc.
Municipal Library of Prague was named the coordinator of the project Prague city of literature in 2009. MLP is the greatest public library in Czech republic. It has 41 branches and 3 bibliobuses, almost 500 employees. The main building and its directory is in the center of Prague, close to the Old Town Square.
Municipal Library of Prague is the greatest Czech publisher of e-books. All the books, which it offers on its web pages are freely for download for everyone without any kind of limit. It’s about works, which are not protected by copyrights, but also the works of young authors.
Prague is a member of the UCCN from December 2014. Our yet longest and biggest project is the Prague residential program, which offers 6 residential stays annually for foreign authors and translators. In the framework of the stay, we facilitate accommodation, commuting, stipend, and secure literary events for the author, and readings
Touches of World Literature is a cycle of author readings taking place in collaboration with Prague – City of Literature and the Museum of Czech Literature aiming to present global literature and its creators. The thoroughly bi-lingual programme ensures that programmes appeal to both Czech and international audiences. The programme also includes an artistic interpretation of the texts by professional actors.
PRAGUE RESIDENTIAL PROGRAMME
In Autumn 2015, Prague City of Literature was successful in launching a residential programme for foreign writers. Its establishment was one of the major tasks and plans in our application to join the Creative Cities Network in 2014. The first step was to establish the conditions and principles of the programme as a whole. The principles of the programme were created in cooperation with our Prague-based partner literary organizations. These principles were then discussed at the level of the UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature Network. The outcome of these discussions were the basic conditions, which, in brief, are set out as follows: Each year, Prague provides six two-month residential stays for foreign writers or translators. As part of the stay, the costs of a scholarship, accommodation, travel expenses and, of course, all costs associated with promoting the authors during their stay (i.e. advertising in the press, author readings and literary evenings, readings at schools, meetings with students and advertising in the media) are covered for the authors. Since 2015, 19 authors have taken part in the programme.
This Czech-German translation workshop was born of cooperation between two UNESCO Cities of Literature, Prague and Heidelberg. In early November 2016, a total of six Czech and German poets gathered in Prague in order to work together for a week on translations of their poetry. The result of the workshop was a joint literary evening held first in Prague and then in Heidelberg, where the poets presented their original and translated texts.
The Czech participants were Wanda Heinrichová, Václava Vartová and Radek Malý, while the German writers were Frank Barsch, Anne Richter and Hans Thill.
One of the major book festivals in Prague is the Svet Knihy Praha (Book World Prague) which is the largest Czech event for books and literature.
Děti čtěte (Children Read) is the largest children’s literary festival, organized on 1 June, International Children’s Day. The festival is the result of cooperation between the private children’s literature publishing house Meander, Prague – City of Literature, and the Municipal Library of Prague.
During the festival, the best books from the previous year are presented to children of all ages, and a range of author readings, workshops and accompanying programmes are held with the participation of Czech and international authors and illustrators of children’s books.
The festival’s accompanying programmes also include educational workshops for teachers, who are introduced not only to interesting children’s titles suitable, for example, for use in Czech language lessons, but also to possible ways of working with literary texts, etc.
Since October 2015 Prague – City of Literature has offered residency stays for foreign writers and translators. There are six residencies available every year, and each lasts for two months; the selection process happens during August and September. Prague – City of Literature reimburses the resident for a return ticket, and provides accommodation for free and a stipend of 600 euro per month.