There are also Czechs who say I am betraying my country, says the successful writer

“That girl wrote it well,” asked the author of the bestseller Shikme Kostal at a gathering of people from the families of former subversives. His novel chronicles a 67-year stay in the original Karvina area and ends with the forced dissolution of the city.

“I wanted to record the story of a city where some people start pretending they’re not there, don’t have a career, they work all their careers, it doesn’t count anymore. Also, someone deserves to tell them they’re beaten: you didn’t do it for nothing,” said writer Karin. Letnika says in an interview that this is part of the news collection project of Personalities.

He devoted eight years of his life to studying archival documents and writing a trilogy of novels, The Leaning Church. The first volume of the book was released in February 2020 and the final third volume is on sale from April this year.

While writing the third volume, which covers the period from the end of World War II to 1961, he fell into a creative crisis several times and feared that he would not finish the book: “There were many reasons for that, but the biggest was that when I reached 1947, now all The fun stopped, and I realized that it was starting to pour in. The knowledge that the characters who had lived with me so intensely for eight years now had to do what happened to them in quotation marks… was very difficult for me to bear mentally at times.

Book of the Year and Readers’ Recognition

“Now, in a gathering of ex-wreckers and miners—a very strict and very honest audience—it was said: ‘That woman wrote it well,’ then a stone fell from my heart. For if they felt that the ‘woman’ did not write well. , I will find out directly.

Karin Letnicka started as a writer relatively recently, before that he was the owner of a publishing house for twenty years, before that he was a reporter at a private radio station, and before that – when he was not accepted at the university he wanted. Library and Journalism Studies – He worked in Penzina.

“I worked there in a warehouse of technical oils, with a bunch of Roma, I was the only woman and the only white woman, we swept the vapex, it was a lot of work. So I thought it was punishment. Since then I can sing some beautiful songs. I can use everything well, how about an experience for you? You never know there will be,” says Karin Letnicka in an interview.

Photo: Jiří Zerzoň, Seznam Zpravy

“It’s where the original hundred-year-old trees grow, it’s a green, newly restored landscape, people go there from the Czech Republic and abroad, many university seminars are held there,” says Karin Letnicka. Part of the “leaning church” are his novels.

After eight years of intensive work at Leaning Church, she feels she’s at a crossroads and is looking around for what to do next: “Should I continue to focus on topics related to what I’ve been doing so far, or should I? I’ll move on to other topics, for example contemporary topics. Such There are many proposals and I must buy time.’

Karin Letnicka is still actively dealing with the topics he started at Šikmé kostel. He says, “I’m not a writer who abandons his themes when he puts a period after the last sentence.”

For example, he organized the renovation of a memorial to the victims of the 1894 mining tragedy, in which 235 miners died in the old Corvina area, which opens the novel trilogy. “On June 14, the anniversary of that tragedy, I wish we could meet at a monument like the one Larish built there in 1894.” (Count Heinrich Larisch-Mönich was responsible for the boom in hard coal mining in the region, editor’s note)

A monument to arrogance and stupidity

An “open air museum” is to be built in the future on the site of the ruined town of Corvina before its plans were scrapped in the 1960s.

“A place where tens of thousands of people were displaced. There was a lively and beautiful city, now there is nothing. There is a plain. Let’s act on the fact that it’s a relic of arrogance. We can also show the consequences of massive fossil fuel extraction for school trips. What happened when ideology and stupidity mixed. … And, it’s nice there, it’s a natural recreation zone, a very wide green area. They are actually Karvinska’s lungs,” says Karin Letnicka excitedly.

Together with his friends, he founded the association Stara Karvina, and they accompany tourists to the area, fifty thousand of whom come here every year after reading his books. After tens of thousands of people were evacuated to a housing estate in New Corvina and their homes demolished, only the church of St. they want to know the place in person. Peter of Alcantara (The church from the title of the novel trilogy, significantly tilted as a result of mining, editor’s note).

Photo: Michal Turek, Seznam Zpravy

“There are Czechs who say I’m betraying my country, and Poles who say I’m an enemy of Poland,” says Karin Letnicka, who has been challenged for her approach to the interpretation of historical national conflicts. Carvina.

However, according to Letnica, the administration of the city of Karvina was not happy with his move: “They planned to build an industrial zone there. Now it became clear that it was not a brownfield, but a huge place with hundred-year-old trees growing, and it was a green, newly reclaimed landscape, the Czech Republic and People go from abroad, school trips, seminars are conducted from many universities, so the program appears in a different light.”

Did someone from Havio’s management let him know that he was interfering with his plans for his novels? “If we consider the fact that no one talks to me is a sign of some kind of ill will, then yes,” replies Karin Letnicka.

In the interview, he also talks about the fact that he tried to destroy stereotypes with an “accident day”. “The image of a miner always getting drunk, beating his wife and kids, and fighting in a bar, and of course that happened. I don’t deny that. I grew up in Havířov, so I know more about it than I would like. But this was not the majority. Even if people think so. They don’t.’

An enemy of Poland and a traitor to his nation?

The novel trilogy describes, among other things, manifestations of the old hatred between Czechs and Poles. “In the beginning, I had a problem with obtaining Polish citizenship. They refused to talk to me because I am Czech. … There are Czechs who say that I am betraying my country, and Poles who say that I am an enemy of Poland. It is relatively quiet now, but there are a lot of articles and comments on social networks. have already been published, and sometimes it worried me a lot,” recalls Karin Letnicka.

In the third part, Karin Letnicka opens up the very painful topic of the communist monster raids, which in the 1950s, after another mining accident, also affected the Karvina region, although little is said about it. “It was unusual and unprecedented. In 1952, there weren’t many protests against communist prosecutors – and there was in Corvina,” the author points to the main plot of his recently published final work, The Leaning Church.

Where do you see the roots of the longstanding mutual misunderstanding between “Prague” and the people living in the north of Moravia? What would help a region with high unemployment? Why did Deputy Prime Minister Vito Ragusa’s visit to the Corvina pub end in failure?

You can listen to Karin Letnicka’s interview in the audio version at the beginning of the article – we will publish the transcript and video recording of the full interview on Saturday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *