Michael Beckerman (New York University), Jindrich Toman (University of Michigan-Ann Arbor), and Peter Zusi (SSEES, University College, London) will join me for a discussion on the theme Prague, Capital of the Twentieth Century.  Pilsner Urquell to follow.

This is by way of celebration of my recent Princeton University Press book of the same title, about which I have blogged more than enough already.

Time: 6.30 pm

Place: Masaryk Room (4th floor), School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, 16 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW


book launch poster final

“Can a city define a century?  Sayer seems to think so and he foregoes a conventional retelling to concentrate on themes, mixing literary and political, the harshly realistic and the absurd.  This is the city of Kafka, Havel and communism with a human face.”

Prague, Capital of the Twentieth Century was listed in Michael Conaghan’s “7 Books You Should Own” in Saturday’s edition of the Belfast Telegraph (May 4, 2013):


When you have spent the best part of a decade working on a large and ambitious book that has lots of dirty bits and breaks most of the rules for proper academic writing, it’s squeaky bum time.  Despite the faith of your publisher you wait for it to sink into ignominious oblivion.

A long and enthusiastic review in the Life & Arts section of the Saturday Financial Times, headlined “The Czech avant-garde deserves a place at the heart of interwar culture,” helps no end.  I’m in good (if somewhat unlikely) company, on the same page as Albert Camus Algerian Chronicles and Eduardo Galeano Children of the Days.  I loved Camus’ The Fall as a teenager, and discovered Galeano’s wonderful Memory of Fire trilogy sometime in the ’90s.

Thanks Tony Barber (FT Europe editor). The FT asks that people don’t cut and paste from their website but give the link. The whole review can be read here.

“Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you” –said Ford Madox Ford.

Following this maxim,  Marshal Zeringue has created a very entertaining blog, “The Page 99 Test,” in which he asks authors to comment on page 99 of their book and publishes the results.  He asked me to take the test and I did.

It turned out page 99 was set in a cemetery.

You can read the results here.