Ondřej Sekora
Guy Lochhead, 06/12/10
Czech illustrator and writer most well known for his work in children’s literature. He wrote a number of popular books about animals – especially insects – drawing from his own interest in entomology; examples are Ferda the Ant, Napipi the Chicken and Aninka the Bumblebee. He initially studied law before becoming a journalist, then expanding, by the late-’30s, to draw cartoons and write children’s books too. The Second World War broke out and interrupted his career. He was persecuted for his interracial marriage and eventually forced into labour camps, where he attempted to set up a puppet theatre. After the war, he continued in much the same way but with an added political edge, incorporating anti-American/capitalist propaganda into his stories. He was also the man who introduced rugby to Czechoslavakia, writing the first Czech rules and providing their translated names. He had become besotted with the sport after a seeing it played in France when he lived there in the ’20s. He died of a bad heart in the late-1960s. I don’t want to include Sekora because his storytelling is dated, his propaganda was sometimes clumsy, and he was an active member of the Communist Party of Czechoslavakia. I’m definitely interested in including some of his contemporaries though – people like Karel Zeman, for example. I’ll look at including them.. Something about Sekora seems too self-assured too… And sometimes a bit ugly. I don’t know, it just didn’t “grab me” enough. I’d still like to read the ant book thought because it’s so popular… And he must have been a real trooper, given everything he’d seen.. But yeah, not included. I don’t agree with his political views.

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