Aug 23, 2023

Immerse Yourself in Words and Wanderlust: Prague’s Literature Festival to Take Place August 25-27

It’s been two years since the Prague Writers’ Festival held its annual event in the city of a hundred spires.

Prominent writers from around the globe swooped into the Czech Republic, spoke about their lives, and shared their work and culture with hundreds of aficionados of literature. And though some time has passed since it whetted people’s appetites for contemporary letters, Moving Center Literary Festival is taking up the reins to continue to harness Prague’s love of literature.

The brainchild of American Prague-based poet and novelist Lucien Zell, Moving Center Literary Festival aims to foster literary exchange and help connect Central European writers to the broader world. Incorporating readings, panel discussions, and workshops, this new annual event is meant to welcome people with established interests in literature as well as those more typically left out of “intellectual” spheres.

“Milan Kundera asserted that Central Europe is a “laboratory of twilight,” and I think that phrase is significant on a multitude of levels”, says Zell.

“Twilight happens twice a day. First at the beginning of the day, with dawn, and then it happens at the end of the day, with night. Central Europe is a laboratory and we are living experiments. What I’m hoping to do with the festival is to bring together different forms of energy in the forms of different authors and singers and filmmakers and hone in on an alchemy that proves that the laboratory of twilight is useful, that it can bring out both the dark and the light in such a stark and tangible manner that we can really see something beyond ourselves and beyond this region.”

For example, the festival will include a performance by celebrated Czech cellist Jan Škrdlík who will present Variations on Tzara, his latest collection of poetry, accompanying a professional reader with his own exquisite cello playing. Acclaimed Romanian-American Andrei Codrescu (famed NPR commentator and poet) will also read.

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African-American cinematographer Chuck ‘Diesal’ Seaton will share his short film Am I Czech? in which he’s conducted interviews with dark-skinned Czechs (and long-term expatriate Tonya Graves) intimately examining just what constitutes a national identity.

Other confirmed presenters for the inaugural festival include graphic novelist Adam Trachtman, Czech novelists Klára Vlasáková and Ondřej Štindl, American novelist Seth Rogoff, and British novelist Phillip O’Neil.

The Moving Center Literary Festival will take place over three days from the 25th to the 27th of August at the House of National Minorities (Dům národnostních menšin) at Vocelova 3 (near I.P. Pavlova, Praha 2).

Tickets for all three days are 200 CZK and tickets for a single day are 100 CZK; workshops cost extra. Lucien Zell’s Dreaming a City poetry workshop on Friday the 25th from 16:00-17:30 costs 250 CZK, and Thornton Sully’s Vanity, Profanity, Insanity writing workshop on Saturday the 26th at 14:00-15:30 costs 350 CZK.

The program for the festival can be found here

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