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Mar 19, 2013 7:00 PM

Keeping Bedlam at Bay in the Prague Cafe

A night of stories and music inspired by the expat experience in Eastern Europe with M. Henderson Ellis (Keeping Bedlam at Bay in the Prague Cafe), Arthur Phillips (The Tragedy of Arthur, Prague) and musician Karel Ruzicka Jr.

Free admission
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M. Henderson Ellis lived in Prague for two years in the 1990s. A Chicago-area native and a graduate of Bennington College, he has been in Budapest, Hungary, since 2001, where he cofounded the English-language journal Pilvax, writes, and is a freelance editor at Wordpillediting.com. His acclaimed debut work, Keeping Bedlam at Bay in the Prague Café (February 2013, New Europe Books), is a brilliant and darkly comic novel about globalism, coffee, and pills. Andrei Codrescu remarks, “Former barista John Shirting from Chicago, an expat in the hallucinatory Prague of the Nineties, stands in the good company of Ignatius J. Reilly, Chauncey Gardener, and Forrest Gump.” Joshua Cody writes, “Bitingly satiric prose reminiscent of Joseph Heller, David Markson, and Alexander Theroux at their most playful. A pleasure.”
 Says Booklist, “An ode to expatriate living, culture clashes, and the heady days of early 1990s Europe, this novel is a manic, wild ride.” And Publishers Weekly: “Ellis vividly re-creates the atmosphere of a city in the throes of transformation as well as the American Quixotes who populate this new frontier.”

Arthur Phillips was born in Minneapolis and educated at Harvard. He has been a child actor, a jazz musician, a speechwriter, a dismally failed entrepreneur, and a five-time Jeopardy! champion. His first novel, Prague, was named a New York Times Notable Book, and received the Los Angeles Times/Art Seidenbaum Award for best first novel. His second novel, The Egyptologist, was an international bestseller, and was on more than a dozen “Best of 2004” lists. Angelica, his third novel, made The Washington Post best fiction of 2007 and led that paper to call him "One of the best writers in America."  The Song Is You was a New York Times Notable Book, on the Post's best of 2009 list, and inspired Kirkus to write, "Phillips still looks like the best American novelist to have emerged in the present decade." His fifth book, The Tragedy of Arthur, was published April, 2011, to critical acclaim, including being named a New York Times Notable Book. The play taken from that book received its world premiere reading at New York's Public Theater in 2011 and is being developed for a full stage production.

Karel Ruzicka Jr. (karelruzickajr.com) is an award winning saxophonist, composer, and producer. In 1992 his group The Four was awarded first prize at the International Jazz Festival in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. Their appearance at the prestigious Jazz a Vienne in France that summer was received with standing ovation. After his early successes Ruzicka relocated to New York City, where he studied with saxophonists Bob Mintzer, Rick Margitza, George Garzone, and Joe Lovano. His most recent album, as lead musician, Brooklyn Moods, was nominated for a Golden Angel award (the new name for the Czech Grammy). He often tours with contemporary jazz singer Michael Franks as well as his quartet.


Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby Street New York, NY 10012


Mar 19, 2013 7:00 PM


Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event

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