First Czech association of Romani writers “Paramisara” launched in Prague

On Saturday the 2nd of February 2019, the first meeting of Paramisara, a Czech Club of Roma writers, was held at the Prague City Library. Fourteen Roma authors came to the founding meeting of the Club, among whom were writers as Eva Danišová, Irena Eliášová, Ilona Ferková, Iveta Kokyová and poet Renata Berkyová.

Besides these, already publishing writers, there were also less well-known and emerging Romani authors who came to the meeting. Monika Duždová, one of the emerging writers, came from Great Brittain to Prague specifically for the Paramisara Club meeting. She is the author of a very personal novel on which she said during the meeting:
"This book shows the last three weeks of my husband's life in artificial sleep. It describes how we felt as a family and what I thought that he would still be able to experience through his artificial sleep. The book also talks about the problem of alcoholism, its consequences on families and social relationships.”

Europe-wide conference of Romani writers and author readings in excluded localities

The Roma Writers Club was created as part of the Slovo 21 project 'Gavoro' ('Village' in Romani language), with the support of Bader Philanthropies, INC.
Slovo 21 director Jelena Silajdžić has great plans in the field of ​​Roma literary works. "Next year, we will organize an international conference at European level on Romani literature," she said.
It is also important to encourage readers among Roma to read the literature of Roma authors. To this end, Slovo 21 in cooperation with the Paramisara Club, plans to organize, for example, author readings of Romani literature in Roma communities, also in excluded localities.

Furthermore, a lively discussion was conducted during the meeting on what type of stories would be attractive for the readers and how contemporary Roma writers could spark the interest of publishers without the authors resigning their copyrights.
Karolina Ryvolová, one of the founders of the project, an expert on Romani literature, and linguist can assist the authors with this issue.
"When a book enters the market, it is in progress, and one of the first steps to take is the publication of a piece of text in a literary magazine. Romani literature is not a Nordic detective, it is not sold in such quantities, so far, as to make the publishing financially worthwhile. Therefore, if it is published, it must be at least partially covered by a grant. Moreover, the publisher has to have such interest in the book that it believes that publishing it is worth the effort of applying for a grant to cover the inevitable loss,” says Karolína Ryvolová.

Through the collectivity that the Paramisara Club brings, Roma authors can also ease and facilitate their access to the book market in the future. As a Club they can perform together, for example in front of a reading audience at the Prague City Library, which supports the project.
Irena Sormová of the City Library explains the motivation for this support in a simple manner: "The majority society would be deprived of and never get to know the Roma authors and their literature."

The goal of the Paramisara Club is to build a community of Roma authors, a "Czech-Roma PEN Club", in which the Roma authors can support each other and collaborate, both on the publication and presentation of Romani literature. During this project a monograph will be created, which will be a cross-section of knowledge about Czech-Roma literature.

The Club will collaborate with libraries, schools, cultural and other institutions in order to establish cooperation and support for Roma literature. Furthermore, Paramisara will also focus on supporting future Roma experts on Roma literature.