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Best Student Essay Competition

One of the key genres of Václav Havel’s work is essays on literary, artistic, social, political, and spiritual topics. His essays, such as the The Power of the Powerless and A Word About Words, have become classic texts of Czech literature; they have been translated into tens of languages, and are among the few truly world-famous works of Czech culture. This is also why it is necessary to keep cultivating the essay genre in the Czech language not in the sense of imitating Václav Havel’s writing, but in the spirit of his courage to name unpleasant problems and search for unconventional solutions to them. For this reason, the Václav Havel Library is announcing the next year of the literary competition for secondary students: the Václav Havel Library Prize for Best Student Essay.

The theme for this tenth year (2018) is "What kind of republic you dream of?" 

This year´s topic is inspired by the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia and by Václav Havel's New Year's Address to the Nation, 1990: "You may ask what kind of republic I dream of. Let me reply: I dream of a republic independent, free, and democratic, of a republic economically prosperous and yet socially just; in short, of a humane republic that serves the individual and that therefore holds the hope that the individual will serve it in turn. Of a republic of well-rounded people, because without such people it is impossible to solve any of our problems -- human, economic, ecological, social, or political."

Please, send the texts, written in the Czech language, in extent from 9,000 up to 18, 000 characters (five to ten standard pages), bearing the author’s name, year of birth, and name of the secondary school, electronically to the e-mail address no later than on 31st October 2018. Essays will be examined by the jury composed of Czech cultural figures close to Václav Havel. The first prize is CZK 15,000, the second prize CZK 10,000 and the third prize CZK 5,000. The competition results will be announced and prizes awarded in the premises of the Václav Havel Library in the Václav Havel Library "Club", Ostrovní 13, Prague 1 in December 2018.

Here you can see how the last year was:

This competition is supportedy by the Ministry of culture of the Czech Republic and Czech and Slovak Century project



Is He Who Has Most Likes Right? 
07/12/17 16:30 – 07/12/17 18:00, Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00

9th year (2017) 


Dear Mr. President 
07/12/16 17:00 – 07/12/16 19:00, Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00

8th year (2016)


Is There Room in the Czech Republic for People of Different Cultures and Religions? 
16/12/15 18:30 – 16/12/15 19:30, Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00

7th year (2015)


What Vision Does Contemporary Europe Have and What Vision Should it Have? 
15/12/14 17:00 – 15/12/14 18:00, Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00

6th year (2014)


Is idealism a position for this world? 
16/12/13 19:00 – 16/12/13 21:00, Vaclav Havel Library, Řetězová 7, Prague

5th Year (2013)


How do you imagine the Czech president? 
December 2012, Montmartre Gallery

4th Year (2012)


Freedom of speech and modern communication technologies - two sides of the same coin? 
22/12/11 18:00 – 22/12/11 20:00, Montmartre Gallery

3rd Year (2011)


What remains absurd and what cannot be ridiculed anymore? 
16/11/10 19:00 – 16/11/10 21:00, Montmartre Gallery

2nd Year (2010)


Twenty Years of Freedom from Socialism 
25/11/09 18:00 – 01/02/15 21:00, Montmartre Gallery

1st Year (2009)