Playwright, scriptwriter, novelist and rabbi. Winner of the Jiří Kolář Prize (1978). His books have been published in Polish and Dutch. He was born in Prague on 9 August 1942.
Karol Efraim Sidon
His father was killed in Terezín, and the holocaust left its mark on the whole family. Sidon studied dramaturgy and scriptwriting at FAMU and worked in radio and on the editorial board of several magazines. Post-1969 he worked in manual occupations and after signing Charter 77 he and his family had to emigrate to Germany.
His debut work was the semi-autobiographical, soul-searching novel Sen o mém otci (A Dream of My Father, Československý spisovatel, 1968) and the similarly-themed Sen o mě (A Dream of Me, Čs. spisovatel, 1970); he wrote the former when he was only 26 years old. The book is about the search for one’s own place in the world in the shadow of the tragic Jewish experience.
His theatre plays were also of great importance. Several Czech theatres staged the story of the Jewish antiques dealer Shapira (1972) or the legendary Latríny (The Latrines, 1971), set in a refugee camp, whose legendary premiere was held in secret in the Rubín studio. A number of them went on to be produced as radio plays – a total of five dramas in the period between 1966 and 1970, including Samotka (Solitary Confinement) directed by Antonín Moskalyk. His plays were published in several anthologies such as Labyrint. Shapira. Třináct oken (Labyrinth. Shapira. Thirteen Windows, Větrné mlýny, 2005), and in a complete collection as Dramata (Dramas, Akropolis, 2012).
Brány mrazu a jiné prózy (The Gates of Frost and Other Prose, Akropolis, 2013) presented a collection of Sidon’s most important works of prose.
Under the pseudonym Chaim Cigan he wrote the tetralogy Kde lišky dávají dobrou noc (Out in the Sticks), of which the first three volumes have been published so far – Altschulova metoda (Altschul’s Method), Piano live and Puzzle (Torst, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017). Here he came up with a superb blend of Jewish teachings and philosophy, dreams, visiting aliens, and even a touch of detective work. “In any case, he deserves attention for the way he links together different spheres, both the physical and the supremely spiritual,” writes Jan Lukavec on iLiteratura.cz.