Česká centra, Czech Centres

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Jun 2, 2017 7:00 PM







Friday, June 2, 2017 from 7-10pm throughout Bohemian National Hall
Free and open to the public. Please RSVP at the link above.


European Literature Night (ELN) comes to New York City, with actors performing a curated selection of passages from exceptional literary works of fiction and poetry from across the European continent. The selected books will be available in a book fair along with other international titles.

New York audiences will move from room to room to experience literary work from prominent and up-and-coming European authors whose work allows for the exploration of parallels between European experiences and the current cultural and political climate in America. The event is modelled after its overseas counterpart, offering a European style experience where audiences can listen to readings and exchange ideas while enjoying a beer or a glass of wine.  

The evening will feature an in-person conversation with writer Marieke Nijkamp, a Dutch fiction writer whose first novel This is Where it Ends was a New York Times Young Adult Bestseller, moderated by Tim Mohr and followed by a Q&A.


This special evening is free and open to the public, hosted by Czech Center New York and the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York with the collaboration of fifteen partnering cultural institutions and consulates.

ELN is a decade old tradition in many European countries. The inaugural New York edition is also the first in the U.S. and will be launched on the occasion of the 60th anniversary celebration of the Treaties of Rome – treaties that brought reconciliation, growth and security to millions of Europeans after WWII. The concept of the ELN is based in this spirit of unity, and on the belief that literature is a unique and creative medium that can help strengthen the dialogue between single voices and cultures, and that it is a tool of mutual understanding which helps to break down communication barriers.

The first ELN was created by the Czech Center Prague and featured readings in pubs and coffee shops throughout the city, creating the experience of a “pub crawl” enhanced by literary readings. The addition of literature and the presentation of new and evocative ideas in these traditionally communal spaces where people discuss ideas gave visitors the space and material to enjoy and then reflect upon what they had heard. The Czech Center New York hopes to provide a similar experience to those visiting the ELN in Bohemian National Hall.

The selected books come from countries representing a diverse and varied Europe: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain.


7:00–9:00pm Simultaneous readings in seven venues throughout Bohemian National Hall

7:00-9:00pm Book Fair in the Ballroom

8:00pm Opening of exhibition Art of Květa Pacovská, with artist in person

9:00pm - In Conversation with Writer Marieke Nijkamp
Marieke Nijkamp discusses her New York Times Young Adult Bestseller book This is Where it Ends.








European Literature Night is free and open to the public.

RSVP will be required for the 9:00pm talk In Conversation with Writer Marieke Nijkamp.


Check out the guide below to learn more about the readings, stop by the book fair, enjoy a glass of wine and a bite to eat, and don’t miss the chance to hear author Marieke Nijkamp discuss her New York Times Bestselling book This is Where it Ends at 9pm in the Ballroom.

Note on Reading Schedules
Venues and related readings are broken into two Schedules: Schedule A and Schedule B. Readings have been staggered so that while there are readings in Schedule A venues, Schedule B venues are on a ten minute break and vice versa. Check the map below to see when each venue has a reading going on, and when it’s on a break and open for discussions and mingling.

A Guide to Navigating ELN
With so many choices in venues and books, there are many ways to structure your evening. Here are a few suggestions, based on a visitor’s personality and mood.

The Adventurer - Drawn to variety and spontaneity, this visitor wants to discover as many books and venues as they can in two hours. Choose a venue from the list to start your journey, listen to the ten minute long reading, and when it’s finished move directly to any new space operating in the opposite Schedule to catch the next reading. By moving to a new space for each ten minute time slot, you will be able to hear readings from 12 different books and experience all seven of our venues.

The Observer - In the mood to lose yourself in a good story? This visitor wants to get the most out of each book. Read the list of titles in this guide and choose one that will be read from the 7-8pm session and one from the 8-9pm session. Spend an hour in the room to hear three consecutive ten minute long readings from the same book, enjoy a drink with the reader or other visitors during the breaks, then get started on to the second book of your choice.

The Searcher - Driven by details, this visitor wants to make well informed choices. Explore the titles of the books listed in this guide and chart your course based on which books you choose and which Schedule they are in. Be sure to schedule in a break or two to discuss your reactions with others, or to engage one of the authors or translators who are present.



1st Floor - Cinema

7-8PM Netherlands: Saving Charlotte: A Mother and the Power of Intuition by Pia de Jong
Translated by Landon Jones

  In her memoir, novelist Pia de Jong chronicles the reality of grappling with the illness of her newborn daughter. Soon after she is born, it’s clear that something is wrong; Charlotte is diagnosed with congenital myeloid leukemia. This universal story of motherhood, intuition and hope describes the fears all parents encounter when raising and protecting their children. Pia de Jong is a best-selling novelist and a regular contributor to the Washington Post. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey, with her husband and their three children, including Charlotte. Pia de Jong has won several prizes for her short stories and poetry. 

Read by Gemma Hutchinson


8-9PM Latvia: Seed in Snow: Poems by Knuts Skujenieks
Translated by Bitite Vinklers 

These poems, by the distinguished Latvian poet Knuts Skujenieks, were written in the Mordovia gulag, where, on trumped-up charges of anti-Soviet activity, he was a political prisoner from 1963 through 1969. There, he writes, “I had to preserve my balance and inner freedom––poetry enabled me to do that. Writing was my way of life.” The poems do not, however, depict the traditional prison themes, but universalize the experience, place it in a historical context, and show a remarkable, irrepressible spirit. Skujenieks’s poetry has been translated into over thirty languages; this is the first collection (presented bilingually) in English.

Read by Bitite Vinklers

2nd Floor - CCNY Gallery

7-8PM Spain: Life Embitters by Josep Pla
Translated by Peter Roland Bush

Life Embitters captures Europe before the Great Depression: A Madrid lodging house, a Parisian café-owner addicted to gambling, emigres and exiles struggling to survive in Berlin, boarding houses in Barcelona - ordinary lives across Europe between the end of World War I and the collapse of Wall Street. An indefatigable traveler with a most refined and unquenchable thirst for knowledge, few writers have known Spain better than Josep Pla, especially in the most crucial times of the country's history. 

Read by Trina Bardusco       

8PM Exhibition: Art of Květa Pacovská

Opening of the exhibition with the artist present. Posters & graphic works by the Czech illustrator, winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award for illustration for her contribution to children's literature.




8-9PM Czech Republic: Europeana: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century by Patrik Ouředník
Translated by Gerald Turner

Heir of Kafka, Ouředník offers a burlesque vision of the history of contemporary Europe, combining tragic aspects of the situations with anecdotal facts that stress the absurdity of the twentieth century. Laughs guaranteed, uneasiness probable, strong impact: in short, a great book.
Ouředník, recipient of the State Prize for Literature (2014) and the Tom Stoppard Prize (2013), demonstrates that nothing substantial has changed - humanity is still hopeful for the future and still mired in conflicts. Europeana has been published in more than 30 languages, making it the most translated post-1989 Czech book.

Read by Joel Brady


3rd Floor - BBLA Library

7-8PM Greece: Austerity Measures: The New Greek Poetry edited by Karen Van Dyck

This powerful bilingual anthology of poetry is a display of resilience and beauty, showcasing the richness and strength of contemporary Greek poetry. According to Kate Kellaway, writing for The Observer, the book provides “an uncommon chance to share Greek experience beyond the headlines—in a way that is fascinating, revelatory and only possible through poetry.” 
Karen Van Dyck is the Kimon A. Doukas Professor of Modern Greek Literature in the Classics Department at Columbia University. She writes on modern Greek and Greek diaspora literature, and gender and translation theory.

Read by Karen Van Dyck                      


8-9PM  Slovakia: The World Within a Lost Glove by Svetozar Daniel Šimko

This collection of poetry – the poetry of exile and of exilic being - resonates poignantly today. Speech becomes a form of defiance, a means of breaking a collective and complicit silence wherein memory is neglected or erased. Svetozár Daniel Šimko was born in Slovakia, and emigrated with his family to the U.S. His translation of Georg Trakl’s Autumn Sonata received the Poet’s House Translation Prize. Collections of his own poetry including The World Within a Lost Glove and Arrival were published posthumously, after his unexpected death in 2004 at the young age of forty-five.

Read by Katarina Vizina

3rd Floor - BBLA Room

7-8PM Portugal: A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe: Selected Poems by Fernando Pessoa
Translated by Richard Zenith

Writing obsessively in French, English, and Portuguese, Fernando Pessoa left a prodigious body of work, much of it under "heteronyms," fully fleshed alter egos with startlingly different styles and points of view. Offering a unique sampling of all his most famous voices, this collection features poems that have never before been translated alongside many originally composed in English. In addition to such major works as Maritime Ode of Campos and his Goethe-inspired Faust, written in blank verse, there are several stunning poems that have only come to light in the last five years. Selected and translated by leading Pessoa scholar Richard Zenith, this is the finest introduction available to the breadth of Pessoa's genius.

Read by Saudade Theatre    

8-9PM Estonia: The Brother by Rein Raud
Translated by Adam Cullen

Rein Raud’s short novel of well-drawn characters and quick moving plot is, in his own words, a spaghetti western told in poetic prose, simultaneously paying tribute to such incompatible figures as Clint Eastwood and Alessandro Baricco. Touching upon ideas of identity and the ruthless way the world is divided into winners and losers, its themes are relevant in every corner of the world. Rein Raud is the author of seven novels, five books of poetry, and several collections of short stories and essays. One of his short pieces appeared in Best European Fiction 2015. He is a professor of Japanese studies and has translated several works from Japanese into Estonian. 

Read by Kristi Roosmaa      

4th Floor - Grand Ballroom


9-10PM SPECIAL EVENT: In Conversation with Writer Marieke Nijkamp

Netherlands: This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Touching upon teenage struggles and fears and representing a diverse group of students, the first Dutch author to make it to the New York Times Young Adult Bestseller list describes an Alabama high school drama consisting of senseless acts of violence combined with stories of selfless acts of courage.
Nijkamp was born and raised in the Netherlands. A lifelong student of stories, language, and ideas, she is more or less proficient in a dozen languages and holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies. She is a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter and a self-described geek.

Read by Joel Brady


4th Floor - Ballroom Bar

7-8PM Hungary: Dead Heat by Benedek Totth
Translated by Ildikó Noémi Nagy 

On a deserted bypass somewhere in the Hungarian countryside a sports car full of teenagers races through the pitch black night. Benedek Totth’s first novel reflects today’s youth, more or less abandoned teenagers, loitering mostly unhappily, sometimes sad but more often angry.
A translator of contemporary American and English literature, the author’s work is packed with action, deadpan philosophy and psychedelia. Elements of teenage literature, the detective story and the psychological thriller mingle in this unique and often humorous book - one of the biggest recent success stories of Hungarian literature.

Read by Noémi Sárog              

8-9PM Belgium: War and Turpentine  by Stefan Hertmans
Translated by David McKay

The life of Urbain Martien—artist, soldier, survivor of World War I—lies contained in two notebooks he left behind when he died in 1981. In War and Turpentine, his grandson, a writer, retells his grandfather’s story, the notebooks providing a key to the locked chambers of Urbain’s memory.
A masterly book about memory, art, love and war, War and Turpentine sold more than 200,000 copies and is translated into 15 languages. Longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2017, named a New York Times Top 10 Best Book of the Year and an Economist Best Book of the Year.

Read by Lilia Rubin    

5th Floor - Skybox

7-8PM Malta: The Misfit by Oliver Friggieri
Translated by Charles Briffa

Originally published as L-Istramb (1980), this is one of Friggieri’s finest works. The Misfit captures the complexity of Maltese society and teases out the dynamic relationships of what it is to be Maltese, defined, as it were, by what it is not. 
Oliver Friggieri is a poet, novelist, literary critic and professor of Maltese Literature whose books have been translated into many languages. Winner of various national and international awards, his work is considered pivotal in the development of the Maltese language. Translator Charles Briffa is also a prominent literary author. 

Read by Jonathan Epstein                               

8-9PM Bulgaria: Wolf Hunt by Ivailo Petrov
Translated by Angela Rodel

Published in the final years of communism, set in the beginning of the same era, Wolf Hunt is an iconic novel about the human price paid in times of shifting values and enforced transformations. Petrov’s narrative technique is reminiscent of Faulkner and Kurosawa’s Roshomon, giving the reader access to the inner lives of the six main characters as they are inextricably pulled into further conflict with each other.  A foremost work of Bulgarian literature from the past century, Wolf Hunt places the calamitous history of twentieth-century Bulgaria into a human context of helplessness and desperation.

Read by Stanley Bahorek         


R - Rooftop  (In case of rain: 2nd Floor CCNY Library)

7-8PM Poland: Oxygen by Julia Fiedorczuk
Translated by Bill Johnston

One of Poland’s most creative and outspoken poets, Julia Fiedorczuk entangles images and concepts from science (astronomy, physics, and biology) with deeply personal explorations of relationships and connectedness in her debut poetry book in English. Nature abounds in these poems, and Fiedorczuk is, in turn, ever present in "that luscious fruit, the world."
Julia Fiedorczuk is a poet, prose writer, translator, and lecturer in American literature at the University of Warsaw. She has published five books of poetry, a collection of short stories, and two novels. Her most recent book, Weightless, was nominated for the Nike Prize.

Read by Karen Kovacik                    

8-9PM France: The Heart by Maylis de Kerangal
Translated by Sam Taylor

The Heart takes place over the 24 hours surrounding a fatal car crash and the subsequent heart transplant as life is taken from a young man and given to a dying woman. As stylistically audacious as it is emotionally explosive, the book examines the deepest emotions of everyone involved - grieving parents, doctors and nurses - as they navigate decisions of life and death.
The Heart is a finalist for the first Albertine Prize, recognizing American readers’ favorite French language work of fiction from 2016. Kerangal has authored several novels, published a collection of   short stories, a novella and a fiction tribute to Kate Bush and Blondie titled Dans les rapides.

Read by Savannah Jones


1st Floor - Bohemian Spirit Restaurant

If you’d like to try the best of traditional Czech cuisine, Bohemian Spirit Restaurant on the first floor of BNH is not to be missed. Check out the wonderful review in the New York Times for more information.
212-861-1038, www.bohemianspiritrestaurant.com




European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) 
EUNIC is a part of a global coalition of national cultural institutes and cultural diplomatic services from the European Union that works in more than 80 cities on all continents. The mission of EUNIC New York is to promote and present the best of European creative and intellectual achievements to New York and U.S. audiences. EUNIC works to create artistic and educational opportunities, strengthen cultural relations, and create effective collaboration between members and cultural institutions.

Czech Center New York
Czech Center New York is dedicated to creating a vibrant, progressive, international atmosphere for the propagation of social dialogue and artistic expression. We present events that feed into and complement the multi-cultural fabric of New York City to establish strong bonds with the diverse ethnic and cultural landscape that constitutes this incredible city. As the representatives of the Czech Republic and a member of the European Union, we open our doors to cultural and educational exchanges in the hope that lasting partnerships will be formed. 

Bohemian National Hall (BNH)
The Bohemian National Hall, the seat of the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York and Czech Center New York, is a recently redesigned, award-winning landmark building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and a center for Czech culture in New York City. Since it was established in 1896, it has served as a focal point for its community as well as a place for exchange and dialogue with the American audience.


EUNIC - European Union National Institutes for Culture

Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations

General Delegation of the Government of Flanders to the U.S.A.

Elizabeth Kostova Foundation

Czech Center New York

Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York

Albertine Books in French and English

Consulate General of Estonia in New York

Onassis Foundation USA / Greek Consulate General in New York 

Balassi Institute – Hungarian Cultural Center, New York

Consulate of Latvia in New York

Arts Council Malta in New York

Dutch Culture USA / Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York

Polish Cultural Institute New York

Consulate General of Portugal in New York& Teatro da Saudade

Consulate General of Slovakia in New York

Consulate General of Spain in New York


EUNIC is a part of a global coalition of national cultural institutes and cultural diplomatic services from the European Union that works in more than 80 cities on all continents. The mission of EUNIC New York is to promote and present the best of European creative and intellectual achievements to New York and U.S. audiences. EUNIC works to create artistic and educational opportunities, strengthen cultural relations, and create effective collaboration between members and cultural institutions. http://new-york.eunic-online.eu

Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street
NY 10021 New York
United States


Jun 2, 2017 7:00 PM


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