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Roma literature library to open in Prague

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Prague, Jan 22 (CTK) – A library promoting the culture of the Roma people and other minorities which faced or may face discrimination will open in the Transitdisplay gallery in the centre of Prague as of February 1 by a marathon reading from a Roma author’s book, Marketa Strnadova told CTK on Monday.

With a focus on post-colonial thinking, the library, named Romafuturismo, also wants to offer books by living African authors. It wants to invite Roma authors to special programmes and tour Czech localities with strong Roma minorities, Strnadova, from the firm, said.

Romafuturismo is a project of Roma artist Ladislava Gaziova and does not have a status of an institution for now. It will be based on volunteers’ activities.

The library will be open two days a week. People will be either able to borrow books or read right in the library.

“We have been gathering books since last year. We have about 200 titles in five languages now,” Gaziova said.

The library wants to promote the emancipation of ethnic groups and cultures that are discriminated against.

Gaziova discusses the choice of books with pro-Roma activists and experts in the Roma language and culture.

“We are mainly interested in completing a collection of European authors’ works, but we also plan acquisitions from countries outside Europe,” Gaziova said.

“We would like to [complement the collection by] books focusing on Roma culture, emancipation and post-colonial thinking that can be applied to the situation of the Roma people,” she said.

The library should also serve as a platform for discussion meetings and presentations of authors and Roma personalities.

Its primary goal is to attract the Roma communities that should become the protagonist of local discussions.

The first 12-hour reading marathon, starting at 7:00, February 1, will present a book by Elena Lackova (1921-2003), one of the most significant figures among the Roma intellectuals. Born to a poor family, she spent most of her life in her native east Slovakia. She wrote many fairy-tales for children but also several theatre and radio plays. She was the first Romany woman to major in social sciences at Charles University in Prague.

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