Category: Interviews

“I Don’t Repeat Courses. That Would Be Freaky!” Interview with Hanjo Berressem

By Blanka Šustrová

The English Department at the University of Cologne in Germany has been a popular ERASMUS+ destination for many of our students. I have spent my summer 2017 semester at the Englisches Seminar I. (department focused on literature, culture and linguistics) and to anyone thinking about studying abroad at this department I can only say this: go! I have picked courses focusing mostly on American literature and culture and three of them were taught by the chairman for American Studies, Prof. Dr. Hanjo Berressem, a man who never teaches a course twice, who describes himself as “the Pynchon guy” and who agreed to be interviewed by me, despite the fact I’d been already spending almost five hours a week in his courses. Read more

“During the time of my career, there have been some very extraordinary changes”: Interview with Her Excellency Barbara C. Richardson

Photo by Jiří Jež

By Makéta Šonková and Anna Formánková

Although not as much talked about as with the U.S. or the U.K., Canada, too, shares long-cultivated ties to our country, and these ties have been growing strong recently. Partly, it might be thanks to the charismatic Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, it might also be thanks to the new foreign trade agreement between Canada and the EU, the ongoing academic and personal interests of people in academia and historians – after all, our very Department of English and American Studies is a shining example of that – but it definitely is thanks to the charismatic and bold new ambassador to the Czech Republic, Her Excellency Barbara C. Richardson.

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Building a Bridge between Theory and Practice: An Interview with Justin Hall

by Blanka Šustrová


What was your first contact with comics? A humorous strip in the newspaper or a comics magazine you persuaded your parent to buy for you? Justin Hall, a cartoonist and an Assistant Professor in Comics at the California College of Arts, grew up with comics. Thanks to the Fulbright Program, he came to the Department of English and American Studies last year and taught a course on comics, which is still a rather new academic field. Being a creator as well as a scholar, his goal is to build a bridge between these two worlds of theory and practice. Rean on and discover the origins of comics, Justin Hall’s own work, how the medium might evolve in the near future and enjoy the recommendations.

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I Would Not Have Dreamt of an English Academic Career: An Interview with Professor Milada Franková

by Michaela Medveďová, Anežka Hrežová

Imagine studying English during the period it was considered to be the “enemy” language. Few English-spoken movies, restrictions on books, and scarce contact with native speakers. This is what the Department of English and American Studies looked like in the sixties when Professor Milada Franková was a student here. Now, being one of the most valued members of the Department, she offers an insight into the struggles and joys of a different era. Read more

“My posting to Prague is definitely the nicest place I have ever been posted to”: Interview with Her Excellency Jan Thompson OBE

HMA with her “embéčko”. Courtesy of the British Embassy in Prague, used with permission

By Markéta Šonková and Anna Formánková

Her Majesty’s Ambassador Jan Thompson has been in the Czech Republic for almost four years. Although she has spent lengthy periods in tough places, including war zones, during her diplomatic career, her job in Prague is no walk in the park either: she has to make sure that the relationship between the UK and the Czech Republic stays strong while Britain transits from an EU state into a non-member state. The topics of Markéta Šonková’s and Anna Formánková’s diplomatic interview were not only Brexit, but also Shakespeare, the position of a woman in diplomacy, as well as why there are cats at the British Embassy in Prague. Read more

Adaptation is characteristic of everything – of all life, all disciplines and all media: Interview with Kamilla Elliott

By Blanka Šustrová


Pietro Jeng,, CC0 1.0(2)
Pietro Jeng,, CC0 1.0

It would not be an exaggeration to claim that all of us have experienced some type of adaptation during our lifetime already. People often go to the cinema to watch movies based on their favourite books, play games based on their favourite movies and then read books based on the games. Adaptation is an organic process of information modification, of text shaping and media exploration. But what it is, exactly? Why it is good to stay unfaithful to the source material? And why is interdisciplinarity so important today? Professor Kamilla Elliott, a leading scholar in the field of adaptation studies, was kind enough to provide answers for all these questions and many more!

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The Many Sides of Jeffrey Alan Vanderziel

by Martina Krénová and Tereza Walsbergerová


foto úvodníkAlthough he is not leaving the department altogether, the fact that he is stepping down as  head after 15 years definitely feels like the end of an era. That is why we decided to sit down with the former Head and current Deputy Head of the Department of English and American Studies at Masaryk University in Brno, Jeffrey Alan Vanderziel, find out more about his life, and take a peek at the many different sides of the man who has gone from doing the local paper delivery route in San Francisco suburbia to being in charge of one of the oldest English departments in the world. Read more

The Czech Sock in Bristol

 An Interview with Chris White

Written by Blanka Šustrová
Edited by Martina Krénová

Studying English language at university is not unusual these days for non-native speakers. But what if a young English-speaking man from Bristol decides to devote his college years to studying Czech language? It was a pleasure to ask Chris White what had led him to this decision, how he found the language and what the department of Czech studies in Bristol looked like.

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Write Only What You Want to Write

by Martina Krénová

edited by Blanka Šustrová


Kniha 2
© Laura Dockrill, HarperCollins

Such are the words of Laura Dockrill who was kind enough to spare a few minutes to answer our questions. Writing is only one of her many accomplishments as she is a woman of numerous talents; apart from being an author, Laura is also a performer and an illustrator. Laura’s works cover various genres, diverse characters, but they all have a few things in common: a creative spirit and an empathy towards all the heroes and heroines, whether feisty or insecure ones. It is not difficult to find yourself in any of her works, because even though her characters come from different worlds, they all have quite ordinary struggles. And when Laura starts to perform poems, the rhythm of her performance draws you in. Whether you are an aspiring artist or “just” a reader, she has the power to reach and inspire you.

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Translating for Children Means Greater Responsibility

An Interview with Filip Krajník, the Czech Translator of the Darcy Burdock Series

by Martina Krénová

edited by Blanka Šustrová


You are the translator of Laura Dockrill’s Darcy Burdock series. Why did you choose to translate a series for pre-teen girls? Tell us the backstory.

Kniha 4
© Laura Dockrill; Corgi ,Transworld Publishers, The Random House Group

Actually, it wasn’t me who made the choice. I’d love to say that the book chose me or something like that to create a bit of cheap dramatic effect, but the truth is that I was chosen by the Czech publisher. More than two years ago, I stopped by the offices of Argo publishing house in Prague to discuss some translation I was doing for them at the time and decided to make use of the opportunity and say hi to Alena Pokorná, the editor in chief of Argo’s children’s department. She has an absolutely wonderful office in the attic of the building, with many bookshelves filled with children’s books – one of the most beautiful workplaces I’ve ever seen. I don’t actually remember what happened there, but I do recall myself leaving Alena’s office about half an hour later with a little blue book with some weird girl and a sheep on the cover which I promised to translate without actually having read a single word of it. When I arrived home, I opened the book and after a couple of pages my thoughts were like, “Oh my God! I’ve just made the biggest, fattest mistake in my life! I can’t translate this – this is a book for GIRLS. Narrated by a girl. Who is ten and paints her fingernails different colours. And yes, she’s totally CRAZY!” But then I learned that Darcy, the book’s eponymous narrator, hated mushrooms – which I despise as well – so I decided to give it a try. (Laughs.) Read more