As part of its long-term programme, the Czech Literary Centre (CLC), a section of the Moravian Library, will be focusing on the support of comics and comics artists throughout the year. Czech comics have recently enjoyed a lot of foreign publicity, as can be seen with the publication of the graphic novel Drak nikdy nespí [The Dragon Never Sleeps] (created by J. Grus, V. Mašek, D. Baban; translated by B. Meunier) in France, and the forthcoming publication of the graphic novel Zátopek (J. Novák, J. Švejdík; trans. by J. Novák, P. Kaye) in Britain.
The CLC supports Czech comics through artists’ residences, a digital programme, and events in the Czech Republic and abroad. The translator Daniel Ordóñez, who is translating the graphic novel Svatá Barbora [Saint Barbara] (M. Šindelka, V. Mašek, M. Pokorný) into Spanish, will be at the CLC residence in Prague in June. In the same month, Jindřich Janíček will be the CLC’s artist in residence in Broumov. An international trip is also being organized: in October, Karel Osoha will be the artist in residence in the English town of Kendal, thanks to cooperation between the CLC and the Lakes International Comic Art Festival.
The Czech presence at the Lakes comics festival (9–11 October) will be one of the main events for comics in autumn. The festival, which will take place digitally this year, will provide substantial space for Czech comics. There are five Czech projects in preparation, the largest of which will be an interactive exhibition by the artist Toy_Box. The cooperation between the CLC and Lakes will culminate in October 2021, when the Czech Republic will be the guest of honour at the festival.
Other CLC projects this year include the competition “Comics for Comics”, which took place throughout the spring and included 86 competitors from all age groups. In September, the CLC will kick off the series “Czech comics in the world”, using short videos to present the international successes of Czech comics artists. There will also be discussions on the reception of works by Lucie Lomová and Jaromír Švejdík abroad and about projects (exhibitions, festival appearances) which support Czech comics and their creators. International publishers, academics and translators have promised to participate in the series which will be available on Facebook CLC throughout the autumn.
Despite the restrictions arising as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the CLC has tried to remain focused on its main activity: the support and organization of literary events in the Czech Republic and abroad. As soon as is feasible, Czech authors, in conjunction with their Czech and international partners, will start travelling to festivals in neighbouring countries. Lucie Lomová and David Böhm have confirmed they will attend the Austrian book fair Buch Wien. Mark Rubec plans a workshop in Poland and there should also be workshops in Hungary with Jindřich Janíček and Jakub Plachý, who have had their books published in Hungarian over the past two years. The CLC will be inviting international comics publishers to the Prague festival Frame (31 October – 1 November). The objective is to support the Frame festival and strengthen the cooperation between the Czech and international comics scenes.
Due to this year’s exceptional circumstances with the coronavirus pandemic, the CLC has also offered Czech authors direct financial assistance in the form of grants. Amongst the 16 who were awarded grants, four were comics artists (Džian Baban, Juliána Chomová, Lucie Lomová and S.d. Ch.). For more on the grants HERE.