Prague Writers' Festival
||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (April 2013)|
|Location(s)||Prague, Czech Republic|
|Founded by||Michael March|
The Prague Writers' Festival is an internationally acknowledged social occasion for great thinkers and eager readers to share important philosophical ideas. The festival takes place annually in springtime in Prague. In 2005 it had its second brief appearance in Vienna, and it has aspirations to expand to New York and Athens. It gains considerable media coverage, and many of the events are broadcast via the internet. Every year several internationally distinguished writers are presented. In the recent past, these have included John Banville, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Salman Rushdie, Irvine Welsh, William Styron and Nadine Gordimer.
"The Prague Writers' Festival 2011 is an annual event with a long tradition, presenting the world of literature as a place of social and cultural dialogue. The Festival originated in late-seventies London, when Michael March (PWF‘s President) began organizing international poetry readings at Keats House. As allowed by the Helsinki Accords, writers from the former Soviet Bloc were invited to participate. Immediately following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the readings relocated to Prague, which was “a natural host and meeting place for writers.” Writers from various countries are invited to Prague as some kind of crossroad between East and West to present their work and their culture to an international audience in the form of discussions and readings. The first Prague Writers’ Festival took place at Valdštejn Palac in May 1991 and was themed “Wedding Preparations in the Country.” Over the next twenty years, Prague Writers‘ Festival became increasingly more an essential event in Prague‘s cultural scene. Now, it is "one of the most engaging cultural events in Prague and one of the most notable literary events in Europe." 
- Themes 1991-2012
- 2012 - Only the Future Exists
- 2011 - Some Like It Hot
- 2010 - Heresy and Rebellion
- 2009 - 2001 Nights: The Art of Storytelling
- 2008 - Laughter and Forgetting
- 2007 - Dada East
- 2006 - dedicated to Arthur Miller: "There is no life without ideals."
- 2005 - dedicated to Giacomo Casanova: "Our ignorance becomes our sole recource"
- 2004 - dedicated to Joseph Roth: "I don't know where I'm going."
- 2003 - dedicated to William S. Burroughs: "We dont report the news. We write it."
- 2002 - dedicated to Jean Genet
- 2001 - dedicated to Primo Levi: "If Not Now, When?"
- 2000 - dedicated to Jaroslav Seifert
- 1999 - dedicated to Vladimir Holan
- 1998 - dedicated to Bohumil Hrabal
- 1997 - dedicated to Samuel Beckett
- 1996 - Ancient evenings
- 1993 - 1995 - without theme
- 1992 - Paradise lost
- 1991 - Wedding Preparations in the Country
- Worldwide Coverage
The main media partner of the PWF is the British daily newspaper The Guardian, which often refers to festival events, issues and news on its cultural pages. The PWF can be seen from anywhere around the world connected to the internet – interested people can see both streamed live broadcasts and archived broadcasts on their monitors.
The main focus of the festival is its annual public readings. Every evening during the event, authors take the stage. They engage in conversation and read excerpts from their work, each writer reading in his native language while Czech and English translations are simultaneously broadcast through headphones or read by actors onstage. Authors engage in other support actions such as book signings in bookstores, concerts or film projections.
Each day a new conversation, dedicated to a literary or political subject, is held. The hour-long discussions are followed by questions from the audience, inviting free interaction between thinkers and artists, writers and audience.
- Other Projects
As a cultural foundation, Prague Writers’ Festival is engaged year-round in many, diverse cultural activities. The PWF Foundation publishes books and helps to organize concerts (Ed Sanders and the Plastic People of the Universe) and movie screenings (Heresy and Rebellion in Aero cinema), as well as art exhibitions (Dada East?, World in 1968). Its activities also focus on students, cooperating for example with students from Charles University, Masaryk University and Prague College of Journalism.
- High Schools
Prague Writers’ Festival offers discount tickets and other perks to high school classes. PWF also partners with principals and teachers of local schools to present talented young writers with the annual Walter Serner Short Story Prize.
The festival has been connected for many years—by virtue of its focus on humanities, languages and literature—with numerous Czech universities and with New York University in Prague. Festival activities are focused on students, cooperating for example with students from Charles University, Masaryk University and Prague College of Journalism.
- Historical and Political Subjects
The festival often asks its participating authors questions regarding politics and society. It is the hope of PWF that the event will initiate discussion of important issues and contribute to the creation of a socio-political consciousness.
- Literary Database
The festival‘s archives are available to the public online. www.pwf.cz gives access to a useful database of Czech and English texts. One of the major aims of the PWF Foundation is to secure funding for full digitization of its archives.
Nobel Prize Winners
- Gao Xingjian (PWF 2009, Nobel Prize 2000)
- Wole Soyinka (PWF 2006, Nobel Prize 1986)
- Nadine Gordimer (PWF 2004, Nobel Prize 1991)
- Harold Pinter (PWF 1999, Nobel Prize 2005)
- José Saramago (PWF 1994, Nobel Prize 1998)
- Herta Müller (PWF 1999, Nobel Prize 2009)
- Derek Walcott (PWF 2011, Nobel Prize 1992)
Man Booker Prize Winners
- Margaret Atwood (Canada) - Man Booker Prize 2000 for The Blind Assassin, PWF 2008
- Nadine Gordimer (South Africa) – Man Booker Prize 1974 for The Conservationist, PWF 2004
- Arundhati Roy (India) - Man Booker Prize 1997 for The God of Small Things, PWF 2003
- Yann Martel (Canada) - Man Booker Prize 2002 for Life of Pi, PWF 2003
- Salman Rushdie (India, United Kingdom) - Man Booker Prize for Midnight's Children, PWF 2001
- Ian McEwan (United Kingdom) - Man Booker Prize 1998 for Amsterdam, PWF 2001
- John Banville (Ireland) - Man Booker Prize 2005 for The Sea, PWF 2001
Pulitzer Prize Winners
- William Styron (USA) - Pulitzer Prize 1968 for The Confessions of Nat Turner, PWF 2006
- Jeffrey Eugenides (USA) - Pulitzer Prize 2003 for Middlesex, PWF 2003
- Richard Ford (USA) - Pulitzer Prize 1996 for Independence Day, PWF 2000
- Michael Cunningham (USA) - Pulitzer Prize 1999 for The Hours, PWF 1994
- Junot Díaz (Dominican Republic) - Pulitzer Prize 2008 for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, PWF 2011