Prague festival of writers to feature Derek Walcott

This year’s 20th Festival of Writers to be held in Prague on June 5 will focus on topics related to heresy and rebellion, festival president Michael March said last week, adding that the Spiros Vergos Prize for Freedom of Expression will go to U.S. writer Peter Matthiessen. Matthiessen will attend the festival, as will three Nobel Literature Prize winners, German author of Romanian origin Herta Mueller, Chinese playwright and novelist Gao Xingjian and Caribbean poet Derek Walcott.

Czech versions of the works by the three Nobel prize holders are appearing in Czech bookshops this year.The festival will present 14 writers from various countries.

March said every writer is actually a heretic and a rebel. Various aspects of heresy and rebellion can be found in the work of all authors invited to the festival, he said. For example, the Algerian writer living in France, Asia Djibar, opens in her book the theme of a difficult position of Muslim women, a topic that has been taboo so far. German writer Hans Magnus Enzensberger, for his part, criticizes the morals of the post-war world and warns against the restriction of freedom. He is also a well-known critic of the European Union, March said.

Apart from the authors’ reading sessions, the festival will also offer autograph sessions and discussions with writers. The festival program is available on the Internet at

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