Thursday, February 11, 2010


Sorry not to have blogged for so long: I've been tremendously busy and elsewhere. I was in Prague for almost a week, invited to read on the Monday at the great anglophone bookshop and cafe, The Globe, for Alchemy Prague, a series of literary and musical events run by Ken Nash for the Anglo-American literary society there. It was a good event, very full, and here's a pic John took with some of the audience reflected in the mirror:

After I read, there was an open mic session revealing some real talent which I also witnessed on the Thursday at a new poetry reading series (set up by some of the people who had read on the Monday). Quite made me want to move to Prague! We stayed in a lovely flat in Nove Mesto which we'd been lent for the duration, arriving quite romantically at midnight (our plane had been delayed by the weather) in a snowfall. One of the people at the Monday reading was Zuzana Hronkova, the Anglo-American University librarian, and she invited us to look around the very peaceful and cosy university library next day (and took copies of my books for the library).

Then we had a good few days tramping around the city. It was very cold and in the sidestreets the ice was packed hard - I slipped and fell on the way to the reading on the Monday! The most compelling thing for me, though, was a visit we made to Terezin, (Theresienstadt), Jewish ghetto, an hour's bus ride north of Prague. Really, words fail me so far to express the impact of this experience, and in the meantime I guess I can do no better than refer you to WG Sebald's wonderful, searing novel Austerlitz. And here's my photo of the railway track which brought the Jews into the town:


Tania Hershman said...

Sounds like an amazing experience, Eliizabeth, what an honour to be invited. And Prague in the snow must be lovely. Going to the camp must have been quite a bizarre contrast to all the lit events.

Elizabeth Baines said...

It certainly was a contrast, Tania. and yes, an amazing experience.

adele said...

Really good to have you back! I've just read your post on Turn of the Screw which I found completely fascinating. Will have to go back and read it again myself. And yes, Austerlitz is there to be read as well. Your post has reminded me.

Elizabeth Baines said...

Austerlitz is one of my favourite books, Adele.