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Literary Evening at the Europe House in Copenhagen

Common event arranged by the Embassies of the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia took place on 10 May 2010 at the Europe House in Copenhagen.

From the left: Writer Wojciech Kuczok, interpreter and translator Judyta Preis, writer Víťo Staviarsky, interpreter Ľubica Pedersen and writer Jiří Holub.

The evening offered a unique opportunity to meet new talents of contemporary Central European literature. Three authors presented their unconventional views on problems in today´s society, their individual style, ingenious language and a special sense of humor. Their works address significant topics such as upbringing in harsh environment, family issues, poverty and racial discrimination.

Klaus Bischoff from the European Commission Representation in Denmark

In the introduction Klaus Bischoff from the European Commission Representation, seated in the Europe House, reminded the EU´s motto for the year 2010 –combating poverty and social exclusion. The literature enthusiast and translator, Czech Ambassador Zdeněk Lyčka, hosted the evening. He introduced the common project, the authors and their works as well as the translators and the readers. Short passages were read by the authors in the original language, followed by the reading of the translated Danish passages. A following lively and interesting discussion did not focus only on the authors and their works, but covered also general questions concerning support of literature and translation in the particular countries.

Czech Ambassador Zdeněk Lyčka

Eighty guests attended the literary evening: Ambassadors of the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Serbia and Saudi Arabia, other diplomats, President of EUNIC and Director of the Danish Cultural Institute, Mr. Finn Andersen, representatives of the three expatriate communities, Danish publishers, journalists and other interested visitors. At the end, the organizers invited the public for small refreshments. The event was very successful and attractive for the audience. The Europe House considered the evening as one of the most successful events of its kind.

The filled-in hall of the Europe House

Wojciech Kuczok (*1972), a successful Polish novelist, poet, screenwriter and film critic, presented his most famous novel Gnój (WAB, Warszawa 2003; in Danish Skarn, translated by Judyta Preis and Jørgen Herman Monrad, Barter & Co, 2009), for which he received prestigious Nike Award. In the “anti-autobiographical” novel a young man recounts the story of his nightmarish upbringing in the last Communist decades in the Silesian industrial region.

Writer Wojciech Kuczok and interpreter and translator Judyta Preis

Slovakia was represented by Víťo Staviarsky (*1960) and his literary debut Kivader (Pavel Mervart, Vista, 2007). The author graduated in scenography from the Prague Film Academy (FAMU) and has since experienced a range of unconventional jobs (he used to work as a male-nurse at a psychiatric clinic or at a detention station, etc.). Kivader is a story about everyday life in a Roma village in Eastern Slovakia written with a great sense of humor, but without sentiment or moralizing. The Danish passage was translated by Iboja Wandall-Holm.

From the left: Writer Víťo Staviarsky, interpreter Ľubica Pedersen and writer Jiří Holub

Czech literature was represented by Jiří Holub (*1975) and his literary debut How much does Mathilde weigh? (Knižní klub, Prague 2009) attracting both children and adults. The author attended the Josef Škvorecký Literary Academy and has worked as a guide and a castle-keeper in several castles. The story is narrated by an adopted 10-year-old boy, who has to deal with a chicane of an older schoolmate. A joyful book with excellent humor and authentic language reveals serious and timeless topics such as racial discrimination, the strength of parental love for children and the happiness in the daily life. The Danish passage was translated by Josefine and Marek Bičan.

From the left: Writer Víťo Staviarsky, interpreter Ľubica Pedersen and writer Jiří Holub

The literary evening was inspired by the project called Literature Night, organized by the Czech Centres in cooperation with Prague’s cluster of EUNIC (European Union National Institutes of Culture). This year, Czech Centres and Embassies in 15 cities participate in the project.

From the left (top row): Translator Søren Pind Jensen, translator Jørgen Herman Monrad, Serbian Ambassadrice Vida Ognjenović, Klaus Bischoff from the European Commission Representation, Czech Ambassador Zdeněk Lyčka, Slovak Ambassador Ľubomír Golian, cameraman and translator Marek Bičan From the left (bottom row): Polish Ambassador Adam Halamski, writer Wojciech Kuczok, translator Judyta Preis, writer Víťo Staviarsky, interpreter and translator Ľubica Pedersen and writer Jiří Holub
From the left (bottom row): Polish Ambassador Adam Halamski, writer Wojciech Kuczok, translator Judyta Preis, writer Víťo Staviarsky, interpreter and translator Ľubica Pedersen and writer Jiří Holub