Author: Vladimír Křivánek
University Hradec Kralove
Translated from Czech by: Sevdalina Veleva
Published in: Slavyanski dialozi, XIV, 2017, 19

Abstract: The article attempts to trace the socio-political and literary context in which the International PEN Club was set up in London and the conditions for the establishment of its Czech branch in 1925 in Prague. The main factors that favored the implementation of the initiative of the Writers’ Association in London are considered and the key role of Otakar Voþadlo, who at the same time was a lecturer in Czech language and literature at the University of London, is highlighted. Special attention is paid to the visit of Karel Čapek as an honorary guest of the London club as a result of which the Czech writer overcame his initial hesitations and became a passionate supporter of the idea of setting up a Czech PEN club. The role of state institutions, which understood of the importance of this event for raising the prestige of Czechoslovakia as an equal participant in the recent history of world culture, is emphasized.

Key words: PEN Club, Otakar Vočadlo, Karel Čapek, T. G. Masaryk, Czech-British literary relations