Milan Kundera To Donate His 4,000-Volume Library and Archives to the Moravian Library

This autumn, the Moravian Library in Brno will receive an extensive contribution from the world-renowned Brno native author Milan Kundera. The donation includes his books in the original languages and translations, as well as exclusive archive material. Photo credit: ZM / Brno Daily.

Brno, Aug 3 (BD) – Milan Kundera and his wife Vera have decided to dedicate their library to the Moravian Regional Library [“Moravská zemská knihovna”, MZK]. One of the world’s most prominent writers and a native of Brno, Kundera’s library is estimated at 4,000 books, and includes archives, photos and even drawings by the author.

The Kunderas’ library includes the author’s books in Czech, French, and more than 40 other languages, but the exact contents remain unknown until the books arrive and an inventory is carried out. Based on an agreement with the administrator of copyright licenses, the collection of his books will continue to be expanded in Brno with other Czech and foreign editions.

In addition to the extensive book collection, the donation also includes a private archive containing articles written by and about Kundera, critiques of his works, clippings, authorized photographs and drawings.

In an interview with Seznam Zprávy, the head of the MZK, Tomas Kubicek, said he estimates that the inventory will take around four months, as he thinks there will be around 4,000 books coming his way. Beyond that, the archive material will take much longer to process. It will be digitized for research purposes and made available to the public in this form.

After the inventory and cataloging of the library is complete, MZK is planning to dedicate a space to the collection in a separate study room next year, named the “Milan Kundera Library”. The new library will host author readings, debates with writers, and professional discussions on Czech and world literature and culture, “exactly in the spirit of Kundera’s global importance,” according to MZK.

Kundera himself simply said that the donation was a logical decision: “I think that books belong in the library, so it is logical that I put them in the Moravian Regional Library.”

The transfer from the Kundera residence in Paris to the MZK is set to take place in autumn.

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