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THE BIBLIO FILE is a leading podcast that examines "the book" and book culture. Hosted by NIGEL BEALE it features wide ranging conversations with writers, poets, book publishers, booksellers, book editors, book collectors, book makers, book scholars, book critics, book designers, book publicists, literary agents and other best practitioners who busy themselves with the world of books.

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Sep 26, 2022

Libri Prohibiti is a nonprofit, independent, archival research library located in Prague, Czech Republic that collects samizdat and exile literature. Founded by Jiří Gruntorád after the fall of the communist regime its holding include some 40,000 monographs, periodicals, reference resources, and audiovisual materials. In addition to dissident articles, many popular books were banned, and subsequently distributed as samizdats including George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, both of which are held in the library. 
 
In 2013, the Libri Prohibiti Collection of Czech and Slovak Samizdat periodicals from the years 1948–1989 was listed by UNESCO in its Memory of the World (MOW) Register. It is the largest collection of its kind in the world. According to the MOW Registry, "the completeness and uniqueness of this large number of documents attest to the fight against the communist totalitarian regime and its importance for the study of the history of the twentieth century." 
 
I met with Jiri Nenicka, a librarian at Libri Prohibiti, in Prague to talk about the collection.
 
The novel/diary we refer to about 2/3 of the way in which beautifully describes the samizdat publishing experience is A Czech Dreambook by Ludvík Vaculík translated by Gerald Turner (Karolinum Press, Charles University, 2018)