Interior of the Milan Kundera Library in Brno, Source: Moravská zemská knihovna

Brno: The city that houses Milan Kundera’s legacy

Brno: The city that houses Milan Kundera’s legacy

In April, the recently deceased writer transferred his personal archive to the Moravian Library

Milan Kundera is no longer with us. The globally acclaimed Czech writer, and author of the Unbearable Lightness of Being, passed away on 11 July in Paris at the age of 94.

The news was first reported by the Moravian Regional Library of Brno. That institution is also now linked to the great author’s legacy after back in April of this year, he decided to transfer his own personal archive consisting of some 4000 books and 25 boxes of handwritten notes.

The donation served as the basis of the creation of the Milan Kundera Library, which is part of the Moravian Library of Brno. And the city was chosen as the host of this important legacy because it was the birthplace of Mr Kundera.

Brno’s famous son

Milan Kundera was born in the Moravian region’s main city – Brno – in 1929 in the family of a musicologist. graduated from the Grammar School in his hometown, after which he went to study in Prague. He then became famous in the Czech capital as a writer, with his first novel The Joke being made into a movie only two years after it was first published (1969).

In light of the Prague Spring events at the time and the brief political liberalization, which was quashed by the Communist bloc armies, he became famous as a critic of the totalitarian regime in Czechoslovakia.

This eventually led to his exile in France and to his being stripped of Czechoslovakian citizenship in 1979 (he regained Czech citizenship only in 2019). His fame only grew after his exile reaching a peak in the 1980s when his novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being was made into a film starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Juliette Binoche (in 1988).

Kundera was the recipient of the City of Brno Prize for 2004 and in 2009 he was awarded honorary citizenship of the city in recognition of his lifelong work.

In cooperation between the Moravian Regional Library and the city of Brno, a memorial place with a condolence book was created in the Milan Kundera Library, where people can come to express their condolences. Entry will also be allowed to people without a reader's card. 



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