Top names coming to Prague Writer's Festival

A broad selection of novelists, poets and journalists will speak this year

This 27th edition of the Prague Writer's Festival takes place Nov. 10 to 15, with events in the Senate, Convent of St Agnes, Municipal Library, the University of Economics and Ponrepo Cinema.

The theme this year is “the fire next time,” and organizers quote James Baldwin, who said: “The past makes the present coherent.”

Almost a dozen international and Czech authors will be participating in readings, panel discussions, and other events.

One of the most interesting writers coming this year is thriller author Joseph Kanon. A film based on his novel The Good German was directed by Steven Soderbergh and starred George Clooney and Cate Blanchett. His bestselling debut novel Los Alamos won the Edgar Award. His most recent novel is Defectors, about an American spy who flees to Moscow.

Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery received the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2016 for creating a database that tracked police shootings throughout America. He is also the author of They Can't Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America's Racial Justice Movement. He recently received the Christopher Isherwood prize for autobiographical prose from the Los Angeles Times.

Another journalist turned writer is Inderjit Badhwar, formerly the editor of India Today. He currently runs India Legal. His first novel The Chamber of Perfumes was published in 2004. It won France’s Prix Literaire for Best Foreign Debut Novel of the Year.

Turkey's Ayşe Kulins is a short story writer, screenwriter, and novelist. Her most acclaimed novel is Last Train to Istanbul, which portrays Turkish diplomats who risked their lives to save hundreds of Jews stranded in Europe. The novel received the European Council Jewish Community Best Novel Award.

Austrian novelist Robert Menasse this year was awarded the Deutscher Buchpreis for The Capital. He is considered the most prominent writer of his generation. He studied philosophy and taught briefly in Brazil before returning to Vienna, where he is now based.

Several poets are also on the schedule. Syrian-born poet Adonis, who now lives in Paris, has been called the most profound critic of Arab culture since pre-Islamic times. In the 1950s he became a central figure in the Arab world’s new poetic movement.

Moroccan poet, novelist and politician Mohammed Achaari has been jailed for his political activities. He received the International Prize for Arab Fiction in 2011 for his second novel The Arch and the Butterfly.

Kirill Medvedev has been called the hippest poet in Russia. He has renounced the copyright of his work and rejected the literary world. His work includes It’s No Good, Incursion, Cocks of the Fathers, Texts Published Without the Permission of the Author, and For Eternity.

Other writers coming to the festival include Affinity Konar, Magdaléna Platzová and Martin Reiner.

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