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May 16, 2022



Most Czech publishers say literature by Romani authors is not "mature" enough - but the KHER press says it's ready

26.8.2021 7:00
Karolína Ryvolová (left), editor at the KHER press, was a recent guest on ROMEA TV's
Karolína Ryvolová (left), editor at the KHER press, was a recent guest on ROMEA TV's "Interview with Patrik Banga" program. (2021)

Yet another in the regular series of interviews that ROMEA TV is broadcasting with interesting figures is on the subject of literature by Romani authors. Patrik Banga's interview is with Karolína Ryvolová, editor of the KHER press in the Czech Republic. 

Mainstream publishers in the Czech Republic are said to not take very much interest in literature by Romani authors. "People from the literary scene believe they are approaching literature by Romani authors in an egalitarian way. However, they do also say that it is not mature enough yet and that Romani authors do not know how to write as well [as majority-society authors]," Ryvolová says in the ROMEA TV interview.  

In her view, it is not possible to use the same yardstick to measure literature by Romani authors, for which the written tradition only began at the close of the 1960s and start of the 1970s in the former Czechoslovakia, as one would use to measure majority-society literatures in this part of the world that have centuries of history behind them. The beauty of literature by Romani authors, the editor says, is that it continues to be based in a living storytelling tradition.  

"Right now in the Czech Republic there are roughly 40 authors who are Romani, about half of whom are active," the editor says. KHER is the only press in the Czech Republic to exclusively focus on publishing and promoting Romani authors.  

The press does its best to aid the authors during the production of their works. KHER also strives to make sure these books, frequent published bilingually in Czech and Romanes, are available in bookshops, libraries, schools and other public institutions. 

Currently KHER's publications are available through the Kosmas bookseller chain in the Czech Republic and through in Slovakia. The interview also covered who these contemporary Romani authors are, what their works are like, and what new works are on the horizon. 

bng, th, jal, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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