April 2, 2015

13 April: David Vaughan on Elizabeth Jane Weston

Please note: this event takes place at 7.30pm on 13 April 2015 at the Swan Divadelni Klub in Divadlo Kolowrat, Ovocny Trh 6, Praha 1

 David Vaughan is a broadcaster, journalist and university lecturer. He is author of the book "Battle for the Airwaves" on the role of the media in the run-up to WWII. For eight years he was editor-in-chief of Radio Prague, the international service of Czech Radio, and prior to that he was the Prague correspondent of the BBC.

He has won national and international awards for his radio work. His documentary novel "Slyšte můj hlas" (Hear My Voice) was serialized by Czech Radio in 2013 and has just been published.

David has produced a number of fascinating documentaries for Czech Radio and the BBC on literary figures from Bohemia. Tonight he will be talking about the young British poet Elizabeth Jane Weston, who accompanied the alchemists Edward Kelley and John Dee to the court of Rudolf II in the late 1500s, and who is buried in St Thomas's church in Mala Strana.

February 25, 2015

Tzvi Shmilovich (Monday 2 March)

Tzvi was born sometime in the 20th century in Transylvania. When that latter-day Dracula, Ceausescu, let his Jews go for $5000 per capita deposited into his Swiss bank accounts by American Jewish Organisations, Tzvi migrated to Israel.  Growing up there he saw wars. Loved, and loved to hate, that tiny strip of land and the Israeli paradox that can cause claustrophobia, neuroses and severe delusions.

Following the completion of a Fine Arts course of studies he fled the Levant, and moved west. Then further west. Lived in Europe, Nigeria, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, the Sierra Foothills. Was married. Then was not. Painted, taught, exhibited art; inflicted on galleries and communities doodles and baffling (to himself included) conceptual art. Sculpted celebrated commemorative medals for numismatics and minting companies. Sweated, bled and shed tears creating businesses that fed the gargantuan American appetite for decorative nicknacks. Was an OK businessman but a lousy self-promoter when it came to everything else. During a broken heart episode he wandered into a local drama class and fell for the theatre. Performed here and there; did and does theatre & film.

Oh, yeah; he also commits poetry.  Once upon a time he published the celebrated - by those who celebrated it - collection 'Out Of Here'. Even his father liked some of them ( his English is bad. he doesn't read poetry). The poems made it into some literary journals, the names of which will not be disclosed here. Currently resides in Prague with a few spiders. From his small fifth floor studio apartment he can catch a glimpse of the tip of the Prague castle. 

February 8, 2015

Tracey Rosenberg

Photograph by Chris Scott, for Scottish Poetry Library
Tracey S. Rosenberg grew up in the Chicago suburbs. After earning the first of her degrees in English Literature, she spent quite a while plotting a permanent move overseas. Eventually she settled in Scotland. She’s travelled to 32 countries (using the criteria of the Travelers’ Century Club) and would like to reach 100.

In 2011, Cargo published her historical novel The Girl in the Bunker, which was a Scottish number one bestseller in its first week. It was selected for Scotland on Sunday’s Books of the Year.

She won a New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust, and completed a full-length poetry collection. She’s published two poetry pamphlets: Lipstick is Always a Plus (Stewed Rhubarb Press, 2012) and The Naming of Cancer (Neon Books, 2014).

Tracey has become a regular performer on the Edinburgh spoken word scene and won the Luminate Slam in 2014. She also attended the Spoken Word workshop at the Banff Centre and returned to Canada the following November for a Very Small Poetry Tour in Toronto.

She has one cat, who she rescued from the streets of Fife, and one tattoo, which she got on a visit to Easter Island.

Entry is free to all - please let us know you are coming here

January 12, 2015

Hans Fellmann

Hans Fellmann is an American writer and English teacher living in Prague. Thus far, he has written one novel and two compilations – one of short stories and one of poems – all inspired by or based upon his travels around the world. He is currently writing a novel set in Turkmenistan, where he served as a Peace Corps volunteer from 2006 to 2008. He is also working on a new poetry compilation about his experiences in the Prague neighborhood of “Žižkov,” which is where he now calls home.

Before seriously dedicating himself to writing and traveling, he was a student at the University of California, San Diego. He earned a bachelor’s degree there in International Studies, with an emphasis in Middle Eastern politics and languages.

If you’re interested in reading his work, check out his blog, “Breaking the Seal” at www.hansfellmann.com. You can find further examples of his work in “The Prague Revue” and “The UCSD Guardian Newspaper.”

November 17, 2014

Alchemy Revolution Special 17/11/2014

On Monday 17 November it will be exactly a quarter of a century since the astonishing series of events which brought an end to Communist rule in Czechoslovakia. To celebrate this unique occasion, Alchemy is hosting a special evening of words and music and performance, led by Dr Gabriel Paletz, a writer and lecturer who teaches at Prague Film School.

The open mic will take place as normal, but we would be particularly pleased if our regular (and new) performers would consider presenting work with a revolutionary spirit!

October 8, 2014

Jane Williams

Unusually, October's Alchemy took place on the second Wednesday of the month, with the Australian poet Jane Williams as the featured reader.

Born in England in 1964, Jane lives in Tasmania with her partner Ralph Wessman. We are delighted that she has agreed to come, and we look forward to an evening of powerful readings.

Since the early 1990s, Jane's poems have been published in most major Australian literary journals and newspapers and in periodicals and online in countries including Ireland, USA, Canada, England, Japan, Sweden and India.

Her first collection, Outside Temple Boundaries, won the Fellowship of Australian Writers Anne Elder Award in 1998. In 2005 she was awarded the D.J. O’Hearn Memorial Fellowship and the Bruce Dawe Prize for poems in her manuscript The Last Tourist which was published by Five Islands Press in 2006. A selection of her poetry Some Towns and other poems was published as a chap book by Picaro Press in 2007.

In 2008 her third book Begging the Question was published by Ginninderra Press.  City of Possibilities was published by Interactive Press in 2011 and received an Australian Council grant to fund an Australian reading tour. Her most recent book is Days Like These – selected and new poems 1998-2013, published by Interactive Press.

September 1, 2014

Nice Verdes

Nice Verdes are Sally and Jesse, who have been performing together since first meeting at a peace march in Vancouver in 2003. Nice Verdes have toured and performed over the years, continually honing their craft relentlessly. They have toured the east and west coasts of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Guatemala; and this is their first European tour.

The music of Nice Verdes is uplifting, sunny and takes a fresh approach to original world folk music, with inspiration from Cuba, Colombia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. Nice Verdes plays combinations of Cuban tres (a three-stringed guitar), accordion, ukelele, and guitar, accompanied by vocals.

They have always been drawn to collaborating with artists from all countries, and they enjoy most of all the parties and festivals that celebrate a strong sense of community and equality in diversity.

June 3, 2014

Aleš Macháček and Jane Kirwan

Aleš Macháček was born in Prague and after university worked as an engineer. In 1977 he was sentenced to three years in prison for helping distribute books and periodicals banned by the regime in Czechoslovakia, in 1985 he was bullied into exile in London as part of a secret police campaign to get rid of troublesome dissidents. He was given a Gratias Agit in recognition of his activities in 2001 by the Czech foreign ministry and first published in a collection of texts by political prisoners in 2002 Bytem v Hruze.

Jane Kirwan’s poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her poetry collections Stealing the Eiffel Tower (1997), The Man Who Sold Mirrors (2003) and Second Exile (poems with prose by Ales Machacek (2010) were published by Rockingham. Born in the NHS, co-authored with Wendy French, came out from Hippocrates Press in 2013. She won an Arts Council Writers’ Award in 2002, has been commended and given prizes in many competitions and read at poetry festivals in the UK and abroad.
The two met in London in 1989 and Second Exile was put together when Ales decided to give his version of those of Jane’s poems that had started from his stories.



May 5, 2014

Julian Stannard and Leah Abramson

2013’s May feature Julian Stannard (UK) is back in Prague with new poems, thoughts, and words – Julian will open the show with a 15-minute reading.

Following Julian will be Leah Abramson of The Abramson Singers (CAN). Leah hails from Vancouver and released her first solo album, Bedroom/City, in 2006. The band’s latest album, Late Riser, was released 14 May 2013. Produced by Colin Stewart (Dan Mangan, Brasstronaut), this album finds the Singers with lush band arrangements, relatively upbeat tempos, retro organs and catchy melodies. Begun at the Banff Centre Indie Band Residency with Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire), Tony Berg (Jakob Dylan) and Shawn Everett (Weezer), Late Riser explores new pop and indie rock sensibilities, but not without a firm grounding in folk songwriting.

Thematically Late Riser is a continuation on the subject matter of their previous self-titled album (2010), with songs of longing, loss and heartbreak alongside historically inspired songs about the Métis rebel Louis Riel (the French-English hybrid, “Marguerite”, and beautifully somber “Red River Valley”).

The event starts at 7.30 - see you there!

April 7, 2014

Tom Draper

Tom Draper has been writing poetry since the age of five. He has won poetry prizes both in the United Kingdom and abroad. He is considered to be influenced by the Prague School of poetry. His hallmark is the postmodern use of established quotes and styles, in original work. He currently divides his time between London and Prague.

Praise for 'Traveller in an Asphalt Land': 'Sometimes shocking, often beautiful and always thought-provoking, this cornucopia of poetry has an honesty and freshness that is both exhilarating and unnerving in its audacity'.

 Tom will be performing at 7.30pm - see you there!