Prague, Czech Republic – The drawings of world-famous writer Milan Kundera have gone on display at the Czech Centre in Paris, located at the heart of the French capital’s iconic Saint-Germain district.
The Czech cultural centre in Paris this week inaugurated its newly reconstructed library after seven years of closure. On top of offering a wide range of French translations of Czech books, essays and plays, the library will feature a special exhibition of the personal drawings of Milan Kundera, the Czech-born writer who has been living in France for more than 40 years.
The inauguration of the library, which also includes a small theatre stage for puppetry shows, was attended by Czech ambassador to France Michel Fleischmann.
According to Jiri Hnilica, head of the Czech Centre in Paris, “about 1,200 translations of Czech works have been published in French, and about a third of them are available in the library.”
Curated by the Regional Library in Brno, the writer’s hometown, the exhibition “Milan Kundera: A Nostalgia for Europe” will be open to the public from Friday following the reopening – after months of closure – of cultural spaces and institutions across France, and will run until September 5.
The drawings, some of which were already featured in some editions of Kundera’s novels, were lent to the Czech Centre by the writer’s wife, Vera.
“These drawings are part of a series created to cover the walls of the Kunderas’ first apartment in France, and tend to their homesickness,” explained Tomas Kubicek, head of the Moravian Regional Library in Brno. “During the past decade, they made their way on the covers of some of Kundera’s translated works, for the greatest joy of readers from around the world.”
Less than two years ago, the Czech Republic finally restored Milan Kundera’s Czech citizenship, which had been revoked by authorities in then communist Czechoslovakia in the early 1980’s. The 92-year-old Moravian-born author has been residing in France since 1975.