Culture & Society Czech Republic News

Milan Kundera library opens in Brno on author’s 94th birthday


Prague, Czech Republic – Long anticipated and delayed, the Milan Kundera Library opened its doors on April 1 on the premises of the Moravian Library in Brno, where the author was born 94 years ago.

The launch of the Milan Kundera Library in Brno was attended by Czech Culture Minister Martin Baxa and director of the Moravian Library Tomáš Kubíček.

Both expressed their deep thanks to Kundera’s wife Věra, who was instrumental in planning and organizing the launch of the library dedicated to her husband.

The Kunderas, who have been living in France since the 1970’s and rarely travel home, were not present.

Located on the first floor of the Moravian Library and designed to celebrate the life and works of one of the greatest Czech writers of the 20th century, the library features more than 3,000 publications of or about the author of The Joke and The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

It also includes Kundera’s personal archives and some of his correspondence, which were transported from France to the Czech Republic in 2022.

The documents and archives are set to be gradually scanned and digitised so readers will be able to access them online.

Apart from its main purpose, the library will also host lecture, debates, discussions, or other literary events surrounding the work of Kundera and his place in Czech and world literature.

It is open to the public from Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 5 pm.

The Paris-based author, who wrote his last novels in French, has long had a difficult relation with his native country. In an attempt to shed some light on the topic, a controversial 2020 biography by Jan Novák and a recent Arte documentary explore Kundera’s past in communist-era Czechoslovakia, as well as his rise to domestic and global fame in 1980’s France.

But in a move many saw as opening a new chapter in Kundera’s relation with the Czech Republic, his Czech citizenship was restored in 2019 after four decades, and he received the prestigious Franz Kafka Prize the following year.

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