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Jiří Kratochvil

Image of Jiří Kratochvil

Milan Kundera has referred to the prose fiction of Jiří Kratochvil (b. 1940) as “the greatest event in Czech literature since 1989.” Although he published a few stories, essays, and reviews during the 1960s, Kratochvil’s literary career was interrupted and put in a state of suspended animation for over twenty years by the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia and the subsequent crackdown on freedom of expression. He re-emerged in the early 1990s as an electrifying and prolific talent, drawing many of his narratives from strands of twentieth-century history and their intersections with his hometown of Brno, the capital of Moravia and “second city” of the Czech Republic. Since 1990, he has published fourteen novels and novellas, four collections of short stories, three collections of essays, and two collections of plays for radio and theater. English translations of his short stories appeared in the anthologies This Side of Reality: Modern Czech Short Stories (Serpent’s Tail, 1996) and Daylight in Nightclub Inferno: Czech Fiction from the Post-Kundera Generation (Catbird Press, 1997). Among other honors he has received the Tom Stoppard Prize (for the novel Medvědí román), the Egon Hostovský Prize (for the novel Avion), the Karel Čapek Prize (awarded by Czech PEN; for the novels Siamský příběh and Nesmrtelný příběh), and the Jaroslav Seifert Prize (for the novel Noční tango, aneb román jednoho léta z konce století). His works have been translated into thirteen languages.  

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