Meet Jitka, Our Co-agent In Prague

Jn prague

Jitka Nemeckova is working with our books in three Countries: The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia. In this interview you can read more about her and her markets. And get ideas on cites to visit when in Prague. She also shares the recipe for the traditional Christmas pastry Vánočka. If you manage this, you can consider yourself a real baker!

Feb 15, 2021

Could you tell us a little about the agency and yourself?

Andrew Nurnberg Associates Prague (ANA Prague) was established in 1994 as a part of Andrew Nurnberg Associates (agency lead by literary agent Andrew Nurnberg). We represent our clients (agencies and publishers) from around the world in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia. I joined ANA Prague in 2004 after 6 years spent in two publishing houses where I worked as foreign rights manager. Which means I still work in the same part of publishing world, I just crossed the river to the other bank.

Could you tell us more about the situation for translated books in your markets?

Czechs and Slovaks are diligent readers. The most popular genres of fiction are psychological thrillers, woman’s fiction, feel good novels, historical novels, WWII novels, holocaust novels.
From non-fiction, bestsellers are nominated from inspirational titles, healthy lifestyle, biographies.
The editors on one hand are looking for the titles which move the international publishing world, but then they are considering the books a bit too much carefully. They want to see the list of sold languages and sometimes even 14 sales are not enough.Czech and Slovak authors will always have the advantage of “close mate” to the readers and publishers are aware they can more easy engage “home author” into their marketing plans.But translated books are popular too.

What kind of books from Scandinavia are publishers looking for/or has been successful with?

The most popular genres from Scandinavia are: crime fiction, thrillers and feel good novels.

Do you have a personal favorite book/author from Scandinavia?

My first Scandinavian author I read by myself was Astrid Lindgren. Earlier, I “met” Hans Christian Andersen but I have to confess that as a child I was frightened to death by illustrations of famous Czech artist Cyril Bouda whose illustrations accompanied the Czech translation of fairytales. I enjoyed books by Torgny Lindgren, Jostein Gaarder, Are Kalvø, Hallgrímur Helgason, Peter Høeg, Arto Paasilinna, Mika Waltari… At the moment, I am reading a novel by Halldór Armand.

Would you let us know the recipe for your favourite dish – so we can make it as a taste of your country?

I prefer baking to cooking and I would recommend “Vánočka” which is a plaited pastry made from yeast dough baked usually for Christmas (Czech word “Vánoce” means Christmas). I you manage to plait the pastry from 6 stripes of the dough, you feel like a real baker…!
Here is the recipe for two pieces of Vánočka – along with instructions how to plait:

700 g plain flour, 350 g milk (full fat), 140 g sugar, 30 g yeast (fresh), 100 g butter, 1 egg, 7 g salt, 100 g raisins, lemon zest (from 1 lemon), 1 g of grated nutmeg

At the end:
1 egg
50 g sliced almonds

Take milk (ca 20 °C) + yeast + 350 g of plain flour and leave for 1 hour to rise. Add all other ingredients except butter and raisins and blend until you reach smooth and compact dough. Add butter and blend (for a long time). Add raisins. Leave for 1 hour to rise.
Make 12 parts (á 120 g), roll out springs and plait two vánočka (each from 6 springs). Smear with water and leave to rise well (ca 45 minutes). Then smear with egg and sprinkle with almonds. Bake at 160 °C for ca 30 minutes.

The travel ban makes it difficult to travel these days. But when we are allowed to travel again, would you let us know the best places to visit in your city?

I very much like to look at the world from towers (in towns) and lookout towers or hills (in nature). Prague offers many opportunities where to go in order to see the town from bird’s eye view, for example: tower of St Vitus Cathedral, our own Eiffel Tower called “Petřín Lookout Tower”, the towers of Charles Bridge. Do take a boat ride, it is lovely to see Prague from the river. Do not miss Prague Castle and mysterious pagan Vyšehrad which is connected to the oldest Czech myths. I wish you can come soon. It was fun to be on almost empty Charles Bridge in May 2020 but now, I think everyone would prefer crowds everywhere around as a signal of being back where we desire to be.