A2 devotes a difficulty to writing by Czech Roma authors, that includes samples from their works, critiques and interviews. Saša Uhlová supplies a brief historical past of the oppression and compelled assimilation the Roma have suffered from 1918 as much as the current, in Czechoslovakia and, later, the Czech Republic, whereas one other Romani professional, Karolína Ryvolová, talks to author Stanislava Miková concerning the present state of Roma writing.
Miková, who writes in Romani and has her works translated into Czech, represents the brand new technology of Roma writers who’ve not too long ago come to prominence with works that transfer away from the custom primarily based on oral storytelling. That custom is nonetheless nonetheless very a lot in proof in a number of books printed by KHER – a not-for-profit writer fostering younger expertise and specialising in Romani literature written in Czech and Slovak, in addition to in Romani.
Two books on KHER’s listing are reviewed on this difficulty of A2: the cross-generational assortment Všude samá krása (Magnificence All Round) affords a barely rose-tinted view of the previous, whereas Velvet Blues, presents tales by youthful writers that mirror the racism and disillusionment among the many Roma neighborhood within the wake of the Velvet Revolution of 1989, whereas being stylistically nonetheless steeped within the oral historical past custom.
Patrik Banga, one of many authors featured in Velvet Blues, is the primary Roma author to garner a main literary prize for his autobiographical novel The Actual Manner Out. The winner of the 2023 Magnesia Litera Prize for Debut of the Yr, the guide depicts the cruel actuality of rising up in a Roma neighborhood in Prague within the Nineteen Nineties. Whereas acknowledging the facility of Banga’s portrayal, reviewer Valentýna Žišková is much less satisfied by its authenticity and finds that as the guide progresses, the writing turns into clichéd.
‘If the writer’s intention is to bear witness to the racism in Czech society within the Nineteen Nineties, the guide has achieved its purpose. But this can be a process from which Banga has distanced himself, declaring in a number of interviews that he desires to be seen merely as a author, somewhat than a Roma author. That means that the guide additionally had purely literary ambitions. Nonetheless, the writer has not managed to reside as much as these.’
Mainstreaming and language
‘Are the Roma going by means of a nationwide renaissance, or the ultimate section of assimilation?’ asks Banga’s near-contemporary Mária Siváková. She is eager to problem the taboos which are nonetheless prevalent throughout the neighborhood, akin to overtly writing about the issue of drug habit, or the dialogue of sexuality by girls, or making forays into style literature.
As Siváková embarks on her first sci-fi novel, she admits that she feels responsible about writing in Czech within the hope of reaching a wider viewers. She notes that the stereotypical picture of the Roma as a nomadic individuals who sit across the bonfire telling tales, singing and dancing is way faraway from the lifetime of the youthful technology of readers, a lot of whom are now not even fluent within the Romani language.
‘My writing has undoubtedly been influenced by the bulk tradition in addition to by the Roma oral custom, however what has performed a way more vital function is my want to display that the Roma usually are not simply the problematic fellow residents acquainted from our TV display screen.’