Kundera Awarded Literature Prize

Famed exile Czech novelist Milan Kundera has received the honour of his most well-known novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, becoming a best-seller in the Czech Republic 22 years after its publication. Though orignally published in France in 1984, the novel was only released in the Czech Republic for the first time in 2006. As the novel follows the events of the Prague Spring from a decidedly anti-Communist standpoint, it was not allowed to be published or read in the country during communism, and Kundera wrote it while already living in exile in France.

As a result, it is only now that Kundera has won the top literary prize in the Czech Republic, the State Award for Literature, which includes a prize of $15,700. While the novel has won critical acclamation around the world and has been published in many languages, it is only now that many Czechs are discovering this amazing novel written by their countryman. Even after the fall of communism, the first Czech version of the novel, published in 1985 in Toronto, was not released in the Czech Republic at Kundera's request. As Kundera has been writing in French since the 1980s, most of his more recent works have not yet been released in the Czech Republic.


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