Chuck Palahniuk coming to Prague Writers' Festival

Fight Club author headlines the list of this year's novelists and poets

The Prague Writers' Festival starts Oct. 7 and runs to Oct. 11, with an additional event Oct. 18. The theme this year is Crime and Punishment. Discussions and readings will mostly be at Waldstein Palace in Malá Strana.

The highlight this year is author Chuck Palahniuk, who is best-known for his debut novel Fight Club. He will be on a panel discussion on Oct. 8 and have an author's evening Oct. 9. Tickets are required to attend, but the events also will be simulcast over the internet on ČT24.

Palahniuk will have a book signing on Oct. 10, at 3:30 pm at Luxor Bookstore, and be at the launch of the Fight Club 2 Comic Book on Oct. 11, at 5 pm at Kino Světozor. He is also scheduled to attend a theatrical performance of Fight Club on Oct. 11 at Celetná Theatre.

Other participating authors are Kamel Daoud of Algeria, Mohamed Metwalli of Egypt, Marie Iljašenko of the Czech Republic and Yan Lianke of China. Australian-based South African novelist John Maxwell Coetzee, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003, will attend the final gala evening.

The Crime and Punishment Conversation on Oct. 8, one of the main events, is moderated by economist Tomáš Sedláček. It will see Kamel Daoud, Mohamed Metwalli and Chuck Palahniuk explore the idea of crime and punishment in a world where human conscience confronts wars, xenophobia and racism, and where the destruction of universal human values often leads to extreme individualism, according to the festival website.

Kamel Daoude's debut novel, The Meursault Investigation, is a controversial retelling of the Albert Camus novel The Stranger from an Arab perspective. It earned Daoude the Goncourt Prize for a first novel in 2015. Before becoming a novelist he was a columnist for the French-language daily Le quotidien d’Oran. He will sign books and talk to his fans Oct. 10 at 6:30 pm at the French Institute.

Mohamed Metwalli is a poet. His poetry collection Once Upon a Time received the Yussef el-Khal Prize in Lebanon in 1992. After that, he was poet-in-residence at the University of Chicago. His most recent collection is A Song by the Aegean Sea, published in 2015. He will have a reading Oct. 9.

Czech-based poet Marie Iljašenko published her first collection of poems Osip Goes South in 2015. She was born in Ukraine and has Czech and Polish roots. She is also the author of several short stories and essays, and works as a translator. She will read Oct. 9.

Yan Lianke has written many novels, of which Four Books (2013), Lenin’s Kisses (2003), Dream of Ding Village (2005) and Serve the people! (2005) are available in English translation. He has received many literary prizes in China including The Lu Xun in 2000 and the Lao She Prize in 2005. Outside of China he received the Franz Kafka Literary Prize in 2014. An excerpt of his work will be read by David Prachař on Oct. 9.

The festival will have a gap of about a week before the final event. South African novelist John Maxwell Coetzee, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003, will be at a gala evening on Oct. 18 at the Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia. He was the first writer to be awarded the Booker Prize twice: for Life & Times of Michael K in 1983 and for Disgrace in 1999.

His other novels include In the Heart of the Country, Waiting for the Barbarians, The Master of Petersburg, Youth, Diary of a Bad Year, Summertime and The Childhood of Jesus.

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