The Moravian Library has been commissioned by the Ministry of Culture to promote contemporary Czech literature abroad. In 2018/19 it is coordinating the Czech Year of Culture in German-speaking countries, the peak of which was the participation of the Czech Republic as the main guest country at the Leipzig Book Fair in March 2019. In 2020, the Moravian Library wants to follow up on the success at Leipzig. In that year the Czech Republic will be the guest of honour at the largest book fair in Poland. The agreement for the participation of the Czech Republic at this fair was signed by the Deputy Minister of Culture, Kateřina Kalistová, on Saturday, 25 May in Warsaw.
Poland is one of the countries where Czech literature is most often exported. Over thirty translations of Czech books are published every year there. In the last two years, for example, translations of works by Iva Procházková, Jiří Hájíček, Petra Hůlová, Anna Bolavá, Matěj Hořava and Jan Němec have been a great success. This year, Vyhnání Gerty Schnirch (The Expulsion of Gerta Schnirch, 2010) by Kateřina Tučková and Kobold (The Elf, 2011) by Radka Denemarková are to be published in Polish, and translations of Hana by Alena Mornštajnová and Český ráj (Czech Paradise, 2018) by Jaroslav Rudiš are also planned. “Being a guest of honour at the Warsaw Fair is a great honour for Czech literature, which has gained self-confidence after the Leipzig Fair. Czech authors have the potential to face the European competition,” said the Deputy Minister, Kateřina Kalistová, on this occasion.
The Moravian Library wants to bring 20 authors of various genres to the Warsaw Fair next year, paying special attention to the personalities of Czech essay writing. As in the case of Leipzig, readings and meetings with Czech authors will also be held after the fair in other Polish cities. In cooperation with other institutions (Statutory City of Brno, Polish Institute in Prague, Instytut Książki), Czech writers’ residencies in Poland are planned and vice versa, as well as journalist press trips. Since Poland will be the main exhibiting country at the Book World Prague in the same year, the Moravian Library will continue in the tradition of established tandem readings, i.e., shared readings of Polish and Czech authors in our country as well as in Poland. It will not just be a presentation of books, as there will also be exhibitions of Czech comics and Czech illustrations in cooperation with Czech centres.
The Warsaw Book Fair (Warszawskie Targi Książki), which takes place at the National Football Stadium, is not comparable in size to the Leipzig Fair, but is visited by around 75,000 people, with nearly 800 exhibitors from more than 30 countries. Around a thousand writers, translators, illustrators, journalists and book industry representatives visit the fair every year. As a part of the current 10th year of the fair (23-26 May), lectures on contemporary Czech fiction and books for children and youth were prepared for the Polish professional public.