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Kafka archive to be made public

22nd July 2010

An Israeli court has ruled that an archive of Franz Kafka private papers, which is rumoured to contain an unpublished short story, should be made public for the first time.

The works have been kept secret for the past 40 years, after Kafka ordered his mentor Max Brod to destroy them on his death. However, Brod did not follow The Metamorphosis author's wishes and now the rights to the documents are the subject of an intense dispute.

Eva Hoffe and Ruti Wisler, who inherited the papers from their mother and Brod's secretary Esther Hoffe, sought a gagging order from a family court in Tel Aviv on the grounds that the contents should remain private, but this bid has been rejected.

The ruling comes after Israel's Supreme Court granted lawyers and manuscript experts temporary access to the documents as part of the two-year ownership wrangle between the Hoffe family and Israel's National Library.

Last month, former Czech president Vaclav Havel was awarded the USD 10,000 (GBP 6,900) Franz Kafka Prize, which was established in honour of Kafka to recognise the 'artistically exceptional literary creation of contemporary authors'.

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