Prague Writers' Festival

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Prague Writers' Festival
Prague Writers' festival logo color.jpg
Location(s)Prague, Czech Republic
Years active1991-present
Founded byMichael March

The Prague Writers' Festival (PWF) is an annual literary festival in Prague, Czech Republic, taking place every spring since 1991. In 2005 the festival was also held in Vienna. Many of the events are broadcast via the internet. International literary figures to have appeared at the festival include John Banville, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Salman Rushdie, Irvine Welsh, William Styron and Nadine Gordimer.


The festival's origins are in London in the late 1970s, when PWF president Michael March began organising poetry readings at Keats House. As permitted by the Helsinki Accords, writers from the Eastern Bloc were invited to participate. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the readings relocated to Prague, due to its reputation as "a natural host and meeting place for writers". Writers from various countries were invited to Prague as a crossroads between East and West to present their work and their culture to an international audience in the form of discussions and readings.[1] The first Prague Writers’ Festival took place at Wallenstein Palace in May 1991 and was themed "Wedding Preparations in the Country". Over the next twenty years, Prague Writers' Festival became an increasingly important event in Prague's cultural life.[citation needed]


  • 1991 - Wedding Preparations in the Country
  • 1992 - Paradise lost
  • 1993 - 1995 - without theme
  • 1996 - Ancient evenings
  • 1997 - dedicated to Samuel Beckett
  • 1998 - dedicated to Bohumil Hrabal
  • 1999 - dedicated to Vladimir Holan
  • 2000 - dedicated to Jaroslav Seifert
  • 2001 - dedicated to Primo Levi: "If Not Now, When?"
  • 2002 - dedicated to Jean Genet
  • 2003 - dedicated to William S. Burroughs: "We don't report the news. We write it."
  • 2004 - dedicated to Joseph Roth: "I don't know where I'm going."
  • 2005 - dedicated to Giacomo Casanova: "Our ignorance becomes our sole resource"
  • 2006 - dedicated to Arthur Miller: "There is no life without ideals."
  • 2007 - Dada East
  • 2008 - Laughter and Forgetting
  • 2009 - 2001 Nights: The Art of Storytelling
  • 2010 - Heresy and Rebellion
  • 2011 - Some Like It Hot
  • 2012 - Only the Future Exists
  • 2013 - The Birth of Nations
  • 2014 - Love and Hate
  • 2015 - Fear
  • 2016 - Crime and Punishment
  • 2017 - The Fire Next Time
  • 2018 - Live — Evil
  • 2019 - Beauty Saves the World
  • 2020 - We are Condemned to Hope


Festival program

The main focus of the festival is the public readings. Every evening during the event, authors take the stage for an "audience with" event and read excerpts from their work, each writer reading in their native language while Czech and English translations are provided simultaneously. Authors also appear in other supporting events such as book signings, 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.

Media outreach

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. Many of the events are streamed live on the internet and the festival's website also hosts an archive of previous events. The festival's archives are available to the public online, in a database of Czech and English texts. One of the aims of the PWF Foundation is to secure funding for the full digitisation of its archives.

Other projects

As a cultural foundation, Prague Writers’ Festival is engaged year-round in other cultural activities. The PWF Foundation publishes books and helps to organize concerts (such as Ed Sanders and the Plastic People of the Universe) and movie screenings, as well as art exhibitions (such as Dada East? and The World in 1968).

The Prague Writers’ Festival offers discount tickets and other benefits to high school classes, and also works in partnership with principals and teachers at local schools to organise the annual Walter Serner Short Story Prize. By virtue of its focus on humanities, languages, and literature, the festival also has a long-standing partnership with several Czech universities and with the University of New York in Prague. It also cooperates with students from Charles University, Masaryk University and the Prague College of Journalism to arrange activities for the festival.

Notable guests

Nobel Prize Winners

Man Booker Prize Winners

Pulitzer Prize Winners

See also


External links