Activities running from now until April 14, co-sponsored by a wide range of embassies and cultural partners, aim to help Vietnamese readers better understand Kafka’s life, vision, philosophy and career, said Czech Ambassador Vitezslav Grepl at a press briefing on March 24.

An exhibition entitled “Kafka - A Journey to Vietnamese Readers” will be held at the East-West Cultural Space, Heritage Space and Hanoi University of Social Sciences and Humanities until April 14.

Visitors at the exhibition. Photo:

The exhibition, presented in Vietnamese and English, features a number of valuable photos and information on the novelist’s life and career, which were collected and presented worldwide by the Franz Kafka Society in Prague, Czech Republic.

Before coming to Vietnamese readers, the exhibition was held in Hong Kong (2013), Bangkok (2014) and other Asian cities.

During the event, a number of rare publications, such as translations of Kafka’s works and books about him, which have been printed in Vietnam since the 1960s, will also be displayed for visitors to grasp the legacy of Franz Kafka in Vietnam.

Cinema lovers can enjoy various films and documentaries including Who Was Kafka? (Switzerland), Joseph Kilian (Czech Republic), The Castle (Germany and Austria) and The Trial (France, Germany and Italy).

Writer Kafka was born in Prague in the Czech Republic, in a German-speaking Jewish family. He wrote mostly in German. He traveled through many European countries, including Austria, France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Many of his famous works were inspired by and written during his journeys.

“His works present a vision that was ahead of his time in their content and artistic style,” said Grepl. “Therefore, his legacy is an inestimable treasure for our people that we will continuously admire and try to discover.”

Kafka is widely studied across the world. In literature, he is regarded as a critical influence on postmodern writers. But his works also contributed to many other literary schools and later philosophies such as irrationalism, magical realism and existentialism.

Accordingly, the Kafka Festival’s programming spans diverse events and spaces.

Kafka’s Corners with souvenirs and books available at a discount will be arranged in more than 20 different cultural spaces in Hanoi including East West Cultural Space, Heritage Space, Nha Nam bookstores, TPD Cinema Development Centre, Bluebirds’ Nest café and Tranquil Book café.

The screening of the film Who Was Kafka?, which recreates the life of the author through stories and memories from his relatives, including his best friend Max Brod, fiancé Felice Bauer and lover Milena Jesenska, will be attended by Swiss Ambassador Beatrice Maser Mallor. She will share with audiences the importance of Kafka’s legacy to humanity in general as well as to the people of Switzerland in particular – a country he loved and visited many times.

The Old Quarter Cultural Exchange Centre (50 Dao Duy Tu street, Hoan Kiem district) will host a Kafka-inspired dance performance by dancers Charlotte Spitzer and Ziga Jereb (Austria).

An international conference entitled Perceptions of Kafka in Asia, Particularly in Vietnam will gather many Vietnamese and foreign experts at the Hanoi University of Social Sciences and Humanities on April 14.

Another seminar, Franz Kafka - Life And Legacy will analyze Kafka’s Letter to His Father, a literary masterpiece, and an important document often used by researchers to explore the relationship between him and his father, which is often believed to have had a strong influence on his motivation to write.

Source: VNA