December 6, 2004

Howard Hunt

For reasons too complicated to go into right now, Howard Hunt must write ten short stories back-to-back from October 2004 until August 2005 so that his posh New York agent will have something to sell when she returns fashionably tanned from Biarritz or Tuscany or Provance or wherever the American literati will be vacationing next year. Ten stories. Back to back.

A veritable marathon of short story writing for Mr Hunt, who dreams of tennis courts and lobster bisque, but contents himself instead with watery goulash and knedlicky from "Na Konci Sveta," an authentic but kind of terrible Czech hospoda conveniently located within staggering distance from his writing headquarters in glamorous Vrsovice, Prague.

Mr Hunt, a quiet, unassuming Australian gentleman is a minor player in New York literary circles and the author of two novels, The Bishop (Random House, 1999) and Young Men On Fire (Scribner, 2003), and while he is not exactly thrilled by what basically amounts to a ten-month goulash-and-deadline-driven monster jam o’ fiction writing, he can feel the cold steel of invisible gun pressed firmly against his temple and has vowed to quietly and uncomplainingly write and - this just in - read extracts of his stories at Alchemy on the first Monday of every month until the story collection is completed and sold.

Prague-based fiction fans familiar with the excellent English language bookstore, Shakespeare and Son (in Krymska Street, perpendicular to Donska), will be delighted to know that that Mr Hunt's local hospoda and defacto living room, 'Na Konci Sveta' is just around the corner, and in the unlikely event of the whisper-quiet and bravely stoic writer crapping out on one of these monthly Alchemy deadlines in any way, shape of form, the beers will be flowing on Mr Hunt's tab at NKS until the offending short story is put out of its misery.

October 18, 2004

Soren A. Gauger

Soren A. Gauger was born in 1975 in Canada. After finishing his degree in literature at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, he followed an interest in Polish literature and 20th-century Polish classical music and left in 1998 for Kraków, taking a diploma in Polish language and culture. He has lived in Kraków since and now works as an essayist and translator for two art magazines, a freelance editor/translator, and a lecturer on American literature and criticism at Kraków’s Jagiellonian University.

His work has appeared in Chicago Review, The Capilano Review, Spork, Prague Literary Review, Milk Magazine, Jacob's Ladder #2, and Snow Monkey. He has also published a chapbook entitled Quatre Regards sur l'Enfant Jesus (Ravenna Press, 2004). He is currently working on a translation of Polish writer Jerzy Ficowski’s short prose.

His book "Hymns for Millionaires" has just been published by Twisted Spoon Press.

September 20, 2004

King Vitamin (Jeremiah Palecek), and The Histrionics

A night full of musical experiments... Blending gangsta rap, folk music, experimental noise, and boy band exploitation, King Vitamin performs "refined," ear-deafening noises along with heavenly ambient chords in a live performance that's truly original.

In addition to the King Vitamin feature, Alchemy will be hosting Australia’s only conceptual art rock and roll band, The Histrionics. The Histrionics have recently played to rave reviews in Berlin. Their show consists of classic rock and roll played to their own original lyrics, lyrics that "take the piss out of the art world." Their lyrics are projected onto the wall while they play. Audience participation encouraged.

September 6, 2004

Marc Marcel

Marc Marcel is a consummate artist, his talents ranging from a wide selection of artistic gifts. He is a dynamic poet, writer, speaker, and actor.

Marcel is the author of two books, a novel, 'Saint Thomas', and a book of poetry 'Unchained'. He is also a recording artist. His first CD was 'The Day You're Born', his second 'Never Look Back', and his third album, 'Gunpowder' will soon be released. Follow Marc at

July 19, 2004

Chelley McLear

Chelley McLear is a performance poet, born in England and now living in Belfast, Ireland. She is part of the poetry group the Democratic Poetry Party, which meets on the first Friday of each month in Belfast. She discovered poetry at a very early age, and rediscovered it following marriage, having children and approaching the verge of divorce. Sometimes described as the tabloid poet, her work deals with everyday issues in an everyday manner.

"Poetry should be accessible to everyone, I hope mine reaches the parts that others forget".

Greatest influences are very much contemporary, post punk. Attila the Stockbroker, John Cooper Clarke and Lemn Sissay have all approached poetry in very different ways but what they have in common is an energy that revitalises poetry today.

Chelley is in the process of releasing her first CD entitled "Adventures In My Handbag". She has been involved in a number of projects in Northern Ireland encouraging children from 6 to 86 to put pen to paper or words to breath and discover poetry for the 21st century. She has appeared on BBC television's "Working Lunch" and has been published in a number of anthologies and magazines. Chelley is also a founding member of the Belfast poetry collective known simply as "belfastpoets".

May 3, 2004

Attila the Stockbroker

Sharp-tongued, high energy, social surrealist rebel poet and songwriter. His themes are topical, his words hard-hitting, his politics unashamedly radical, but Attila will make you roar with laughter as well as seethe with anger...

Inspired by the spirit and 'Do It Yourself' ethos of punk rock, and above all by The Clash and their overtly radical, political stance, Attila started performing in 1980, blagging spots for his poems and songs in between bands at punk gigs. He quickly got a couple of John Peel radio sessions, a deal with London independent record label Cherry Red Records and before very long was on the front cover of Melody Maker...and he hasn't looked back since!

Attila has spent the last 23 years performing his work across the world at literary and music festivals, rock venues, arts centres, pubs, universities, schools, folk clubs and punk squats in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the US, Euskadi, France, Scandinavia, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Hungary - and more improbably in Romania, Bulgaria and a hotel basement in Stalinist Albania.

He's released 14 music/poetry albums in 5 countries and 4 books of poems. He's written for many national and local publications including The Guardian, Time Out, NME, Sounds Magazine and The Independent.

In 1994 Attila formed his first-ever band, BARNSTORMER, combining his two great musical loves - medieval music and punk! - and giving him the chance to use his classical violin training and play loads of his favourite medieval instruments. The band released their debut album, 'The Siege of Shoreham' in 1996. The latest Barnstormer album, 'Just One Life', was released in October 2000. 'Live in Belfast', his latest CD of poems and songs, was released in March 2003.

March 1, 2004

Jane Kirwan

Jane Kirwan's work has been much praised and was recognised with an Arts Council writers award in 2002.

She was born in England of Irish parents but now lives in Prague. Themes of exile, barriers, boundaries permeate her writing. She has written short stories and two novels as well as poetry. Her second poetry collection explores the relationship between her and a Czech refugee, ex-political prisoner. As the back cover says, it follows a narrative that begins with desire, ends with displacement.

R.V Bailey said of the first collection, Stealing the Eiffel Tower, "She is a fine, exciting, feet-off-the-ground poet." The poet George Szirtes calls The Man who Sold Mirrors a "mixture of romantic sensuality and intellect."

February 2, 2004

Jim Freeman

Jim Freeman participated in the creation of Alchemy and has often contributed with his poetry during the open mic segments.

His primary domain though is fiction and since moving to the Czech Republic in 1991, he has completed 3 novels, one screenplay and several short plays. His one act play "Colors" won the 1999 Pennsylvania Playhouse competition and was produced together with 2 other winning plays. "Colors" then won the audience vote.

Another field of his writing activities is political opinion and essays, many of which were published as "letters to the editor" in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Chicago Tribune and the Prague Post. His columns appear with spotty regularity in Progressive Populist. This reading was a sampler from Jim's novels.