Milan Kundera in 1980 via Wikimedia / Elisa Cabot

Author Milan Kundera regains Czech citizenship after 40 years

Prague, Dec 3 (CTK) – Milan Kundera, a Czech-born author living in France, has regained Czech citizenship after 40 years, daily Pravo writes today, adding that Czech ambassador Petr Drulak handed the relevant document to him in his Paris apartment on November 28.

It was a civilian ceremony without flags or anthems, and Kundera rejoiced sincerely, Drulak told the paper.

He said he hopes that Kundera will reassess his approach to publishing his books in Czech.

Kundera, 90, has written his books in French in the past decades, and, citing his bad experience with unauthorised translations, he does not wish any new Czech translations to be made.

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Kundera left Czechoslovakia for France in 1974, after which the Communist regime stripped him of Czechoslovak citizenship in the late 1970s. He has been a citizen of France since 1981.

Since the November 1989 fall of communism, Kundera has visited Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic several times.

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In 1995, then president Vaclav Havel bestowed a medal of merit on him. The medal was taken over by Kundera’s wife Vera.

The Czech citizenship return was offered to Kundera by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis at their meeting in Paris last year.

Kundera, a native of Brno, is one of the most frequently translated authors in the world. More than 3,000 translations of his books have appeared so far, though he is known for shunning public events and autograph sessions.

Czech translations of Kundera’s books have been issued by the Atlantis publishing house. It has issued 16 books so far, including The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, The Joke, Immortality and the Unbearable Lightness of Being.

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