In photo Vopenka at the Manila International Book Fair 2016
By Maria Isabella Alamag and Raye Danielle Peralta
Imagine living in a world where everything is but a mere memory and an unrecognizable reminder of the past. Picture a universe that depicts the fate of mankind in the eyes of the future. Between every line, envision an experience of traveling the deepest matters of the mind and the soul. In every page, a vast world of science and fantasy comes to life as it challenges and dwells into the intellects of the readers of Czech writer Martin Vopênka.
Through the works of literature, Vopênka tackles psychology, philosophy, and fantasy in each of his stories. In his current novel, “Nova Planeta,” the future takes form in a technologically advanced civilization that detaches itself from others. With a glimpse of the future, Vopênka reveals the horrendous foundations of the dystopian New Planet that was built from privilege and domination at the expense of others.
“The ‘New Planet’ is situated in the next 1,000 years and there are two civilizations. It’s [sic] one civilization is in our Earth , but the (other) civilization decided to close and be separated from others and they served as the ‘New Planet’.” Vopênka said about the novel of a technologically advanced world and of social inequality.
“My hero, was born here (in the New Planet) and he thinks that it’s the best (side of the) wall ever but his brothers betrayed him and sent him behind the wall. He found a destroyed wall and the civilization collapsed and he must survive death,” Vopênka narrated.
Contemporary centered topics fill the roster of his written works; an array of stories from various genres that the Vopênka explored. From themes of traveling, mental constitutions of humanity, futuristic advances, up to the depths of emotional surges, Vopênka’s works indeed drew the attention of his young adult audience, thus, gaining the “2016 Golden Ribbon Award – Literary section: Literature for youth” title.
Vopênka acknowledged his love for writing—specifically about the future—became the core aspect that drove him to write for a young audience to explore his literary works. He also disclosed that a new book with the same futuristic theme is in the works titled, “My Brother Messiah”.
“In (the theme of) future I am more interested because I think it’s more important than history. Because (we can think of) what will happen with human beings in (the) future if we live in a better world or in a worse world,” Vopênka expressed.
Many of Vopênka’s readers crowded his book launching and signing event of the English translation of “A Girl and a Soul: Fairy Tales from the Mountains” at the 2016 Manila International Book Fair.
“I think the best way is (to) bring literature for children and young people because they are our future.” Vopênka said on writing a for a younger audience.
“The book is not only for children I hope but for parents too,” he said of the collection of fairy tales containing eight stories that mirror philosophical and ecological dilemmas in society.
“A Girl and a Soul: Fairy Tales from the Mountains” is Vopênka’s third work to be translated into English.
Vopênka expressed that he sees himself writing a novel in English in the future to encourage foreign readers to read works by Czech authors.
“It is wrong way [sic] if you write in small language as Czech language,” he said.
“When I was six years old I started to write and I always believed that I should be well-known as a worldwide famous author. I waited nearly 50 years but now it became better and I think you must always believe in what you do. What I love most is just writing.”