On 6 and 7 November, the international conference Jan Zábrana: Poet – Translator – Reader was held in Prague at the Department of Translation Studies, Faculty of Arts of Charles University.
The conference focused on three major areas of Zábrana’s work: his own poetry and fiction, his translations of modern English, American, Russian, French and Spanish literature, and finally his literary journalism in which he introduced the authors he valued highly (Jesenin, Pasternak, Mandelstam, Babel, Ferlinghetti, Plath, Stevens, Ginsberg, Parra and many others) to the public. The event sought to emphasize all three of these areas as necessary to our understanding of this genius who was stifled by the Communist era.
Outside the Czech Republic, Jan Zábrana (1931–1984) is known mostly through his diaries Celý život (A Whole Life), in which he bears witness to the crushing pressure of the totalitarian regime on the creative individual. Selections from his diaries have been published in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Danish, and Ukrainian.
The conference programme was accompanied by workshops for translators where the participants had the opportunity to translate Zábrana under the supervision of local and foreign scholars.
Following the conference, the Czech Literary Translators’ Guild (OP (http://www NULL.obecprekladatelu NULL.cz/)) celebrated its 25th anniversary with Jeronýmovy dny (St Jerome’s Days) – its traditional weekend of lectures, seminars, workshops and presentations, organized by its partner organization, the Union of Translators and Interpreters (JTP), during which OP’s founding members reminisced on the origins of the Guild in turbulent times.