PhD Student’s Book Shortlisted for Czech Literary Prize

7. 10. 2020

A hip hop detective story called Little NY has been shortlisted for this year’s edition of the Jiří Orten Award. Even though Přemysl Krejčík, its author and a PhD candidate of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Pardubice, did not win the award in the end, being shortlisted for the award means getting attention.

 What does it mean for you to be shortlisted for the Jiří Orten Award?

Let me begin with a cliché, which is so true that it cannot be avoided. The mere fact that my book has been shortlisted is enormous honour and success for me, which I never believed could become true, even though I secretly hoped for it. At the same time, it is an opportunity for the book to receive wider attention, which is, probably, the most important thing.

What are the reasons behind the success of your book? What makes it special?

A hard question...I do not understand it myself for a number of reasons. But I would guess it is special both in terms of the language it uses and the topic it deals with. The book is about the hip hop community in the Czech Republic and describes it in an authentic way using authentic language, I believe, since I was myself part of the rap generation at the time when the story takes place. And the hip hop community was somewhere between underground and mainstream at that time. This makes the novel original, if there is nothing else. The novel offers an insider's view of a period, which was unique.

Did you follow what reviewers wrote about your book?

I do so all the time, maybe too much.

Will the such success serve as motivation for further writing?

No, I don’t think so. I may be too emotional about successes and failures, but they have no impact on whether I write and what I write. I simply write something hoping someone will find it interesting.

Who is your favourite Jiří Orten Award winner?

Let me use one more cliché, which is, once again, very true. So many great authors got the award, I have read many of them and several are my favourite authors. But if you insist that I choose those closest to my heart, I like the poems of Jan Těsnohlídek Jr.and fiction by Petra Soukupová or Petr Borkovec. If I were to name all the authors I like, it would make a long list. And now I talk only about the winners, not the shortlisted authors.

TEXT: Věra Přibylová/PHOTO: Adrián Zeiner