KHER Publishing House is soliciting your help in the publishing of a collection of 20 ghost stories in Romani (Czech, Slovak) by Romani writers. We help you to rediscover fear, you can help us promote the body of Romani writing and change stereotypes.
Author: Kher, z.s.
Do you sometimes like being afraid? As children, we all loved reading scary tales under the blanket and listening to them by the campfire. Now you can relive this experience! Ghost stories, or stories of revenants, are an integral part of Romani oral tradition, told and believed by young and old in most Romani households. We have invited Romani writers to share some of their narrative wealth with us and help us to refamiliarize ourselves with fear. Throw your own séance and invite your family and friends to read from a collection of horror stories that will make your hair stand on end.
We would like to give Romani writers the opportunity to reveal an aspect of their cultural wealth which surprises by its vitality, strong emotions and consistency of faith. We want these talented people to reach out to a wider audience and find their fans. We want the writing of the Roma, which did not properly exist until 1989, to form an indivisible part of Czech literary culture. We hope to discover writers who can match and even surpass majority classics. And we want you to be part of the process.
The collection of twenty ghost stories – vakeribena pal o mule in Romanes – is going to be released in a trilingual (Czech, Slovak and Romani) edition, counting at least 500 copies. The edition will be prefaced by the writer and translator Eva Danišová and illustrated by the cartoonist Martin Zach.
The book is hoping to reveal the spiritual life of the Roma who have an unassailable faith in the ghosts of the dead, who return to this world to deal with their unfinished business or to warn their loved ones of some imminent danger. Ghost stories, or vakeribena pal o mule, are told and shared today just like a hundred years ago and fulfil an essential social and cultural function in the communities.
For those of us who have banished all things spiritual and mystical from our lives, as well as all questions regarding the process of dying and mourning, reading these stories is all the more seductive.
The book is going to be released in autumn at around All Souls’ Day. The launch, attended by all the writers included in the book, is going to take the form of a ghost story séance. And those who will defeat their fear and come to the séance shall be rewarded not only by the Roma’s traditional hospitality but also by a copy of the book to take home with them.
Once we reach our end-sum, we are going to organize a charity collection of warm clothes for people in need in Ústí and Labem because we not only love the writing of the Roma but also believe in helping out all people in dire straits. A photo-report is self-understood.
If we exceed the desired end-sum, we are going to spend the night in one of the scariest places in the Czech Republic, and mobile signal allowing, will photo-report live from the spot because we believe Romani writing is worth a sacrifice.
And should we be lucky enough to gain more than a little on top, we promise to use all extra funding for the support, dissemination and export of Romani writing into small towns and villages.
We are a small non-governmental publishing house comprising Roma- and Czech-studies graduates, coincidentally all women, altogether the mothers of eleven children. Since 2012, we have been supporting and promoting the writing of the Roma by helping them publish, find their audience and make their minority voices be heard. Although we do this as a hobby in our spare time, we have already succeeded in publishing seven electronic and two hardback books and have managed to bring our ever-more popular reading events to renowned literary events such as the Night of Literature, Book World Prague or Tabook.
Our continuous efforts bring evidence that Romani writing is not only a value in its own right but also has the potential to reduce intercultural tensions, gain the Roma respect and increase their confidence.
Unfortunately, due to insufficient public funding up to a third of all expenses must be covered from other sources. This is often beyond our means, not to mention the fact that our writers usually publish for free. Behind every book there is an incredible amount of energy both in editorial work and fund-raising. We believe in the good tidings that each book of Romani writing brings, and this is why we have decided to solicit your help in making the world a better place.