Novelist and author of radio plays. Winner of the Magnesia Litera (2007) for discovery of the year, also nominated for the Josef Škvorecký Award and the Czech Book Prize. His novels have been published in Spanish and Hungarian. He was born in Prague on 3 March 1977.
He graduated in media studies and law and has worked in non-profit and non-governmental organizations. His debut novel was Slabost pro každou jinou pláž (Any Beach But This, Argo, 2006), for which he was awarded the Magnesia Litera for discovery of the year, though the critics reproached him for a degree of literary snobbishness. In several interviews, however, the author himself has characterized his work as a sort of tomfoolery and trap for critics, which is quite conscious of playing at philosophizing, and Zábranský describes his intention as a kind of “game of seriousness”.
His next novel was Šternův pokus milovat (Stern’s Attempt to Love, Argo, 2008), about a man who is thoroughly successful and yet lacks the ability to form a deeper interpersonal relationship. “I read Šternův pokus milovat as a picture of the emptying of the contemporary world. Erotica on the imaginary border of porn and vulgarity allows a much sharper view of the social disintegration of the globalized world – in this sense I regard Zábranský as the only truly distinctive Czech author who can currently be compared with contemporaries writing in a similar way in the east and west of Europe,” writes Zdenko Pavelka.
After the novella Kus umělce (Piece of an Artist, Petr Štengl, 2010) Zábranský published the slim volume Edita Farkaš (JT’s, 2011), in which, among other things, he makes use of his experience of the non-profit sector; his hero is a defender of human rights who at the same time is searching for his Roma identity and experiencing the first flush of love.
David Zábranský’s latest book is the critically acclaimed fictional chronicle Martin Juhás čili Československo (Martin Juhás or Czechoslovakia, Premedia, 2015). As the annotation states, “Martin Juhás čili Československo is a novel about the transitory relationships between Czechs, Slovaks, communists, fascists, Nazis, Germans and members of other minorities in the period between 1918 and 1948, the aim of which is not to help to redress wrongs or make the reader better informed about this area of history, but rather to provoke astonishment in the reader, to use real or fictitious historical events to introduce him to a made-up world which also transforms these historical events into new dimensions.” The combination of a playful mock-documentary approach with a precise linguistic conception makes Juhás, according to some reviews, one of the most important books of the year.