Pavel Kohout

Pavel Kohout

Dramatist, novelist, poet, screenplay writer and translator. One of the most frequently translated writers, he was forced to emigrate in 1978 and in 1980 became an Austrian citizen. He was awarded the Austrian Waldviertel Academy prize. He was born on 20 July 1928.


Title Publisher Year Selected published translations Awards
The White Book on the Adam Juráček affair (Bílá kniha o kauze Adam Juráček) Větrné mlýny 2014 DE | EN
The Extinction of Trilobites in Bohemia (Zánik trilobitů v Čechách) Mladá fronta 2014
I'm Snowing (Sněžím) Větrné mlýny 2013
Tango mortale Pistorius & Olšanská 2012 DE
The Hidden Star of Jelena Mašínová (Skrytá hvězda Jelena Mašínová) Větrné mlýny 2011
My Life with Hitler, Stalin and Havel (Můj život s Hitlerem, Stalinem a Havlem) Academia 2011
Dramas and Farces Economics (Dramata a frašky ekonomie) Pistorius & Olšanská 2011
From the View of Trilobit (Z pohledu trilobita) Pistorius & Olšanská 2010
War on the Third Floor (Válka ve třetím poschodí) Radioservis 2010
The Stranger and the Beautiful Woman (Cizinec a krásná paní) Pistorius & Olšanská 2009 DE
About Nothing and About Everything (O ničem a o všem) Pistorius & Olšanská, Academia 2008
The Noose (Smyčka) Pistorius & Olšanská 2008
Five and Pat (Pět a Pat) Větrné mlýny 2008
It was My Life? (To byl můj život?? (1. a 2. díl)) Paseka, Pistorius & Olšanská 2005 DE
Four and Cyrano!! (Čtyři a Cyrano!!) Větrné mlýny 2005
The White Book on the Adam Juráček Affair against Sir Isaac Newton (Bílá kniha o cause Adam Juráček... contra sir Isaac Newton) Paseka 2005 DE
Four and Cyrano!! (Čtyři a Cyrano!!) Větrné mlýny 2005
Foreign Feathers Shine (Lesk cizího peří) Paseka 2003
Games in Bed (Hry v posteli) Paseka 2001
The Long Wave After the Keel (Ta dlouhá vlna za kýlem) Paseka 2000
He Woman She Man (Ten žena a ta muž) Mladá fronta 1999 ES
Six und Sex (Šest a sex) Mladá fronta 1998
From the Diary of a Conter - Revolutionary or Lives from Tank to Tank (Z deníku kontrarevolucionáře) Mladá fronta 1997
End of the Summer Holidays (Konec velkých prázdnin) Mladá fronta 1996
The Widow Killer (Hvězdná hodina vrahů) Mladá fronta 1995 ES | EN
I´m Snowing (Sněžím) Český spisovatel 1993
Dance and Love Lessons (Hodina tance a lásky) Československý spisovatel 1992
Saint Clare´s Ideas (Nápady svaté Kláry) Mladá fronta 1991
The White Book on the Adam Juráček Affair (Bílá kniha o kauze Adam Juráček) Československý spisovatel 1991 DE | EN
Life in the Quiet House (Život v tichém domě: Tři aktovky se společným jmenovatelem) Dilia 1990
The Wretched Murderer (Ubohý vrah) Dilia 1990
Katyn (Katyně) Československý spisovatel 1990
Where the Dog is Buried (Kde je zakopán pes) Atlantis 1990
Dance and Love Lessons (Hodina tance a lásky : německá romance) Index 1989
Briefe uber die Grenze (Briefe über die Grenze) Wegner 1968
August August, august (August August, august) Dilia 1967
The White Book on the Adam Juráček Affaire (Bílá kniha o kauze Adama Juráčka) Československý spisovatel 0 DE | EN
Around the World in 80 Days (Cesta kolem světa za 80 dní) Orbis 0
The White Book on the Adam Juráček affair
Bílá kniha o kauze Adam Juráček
Zánik trilobitů v Čechách
The Extinction of Trilobites in Bohemia
Zánik trilobitů v Čechách
I'm Snowing
Sněžím
Tango mortale
Tango mortale
The Hidden Star of Jelena Mašínová
Skrytá hvězda Jelena Mašínová
Můj život s Hitlerem, Stalinem a Havlem
My Life with Hitler, Stalin and Havel
Můj život s Hitlerem, Stalinem a Havlem
Dramata a frašky ekonomie
Dramas and Farces Economics
Dramata a frašky ekonomie
Z pohledu trilobita
From the View of Trilobit
Z pohledu trilobita
Válka ve třetím poschodí
War on the Third Floor
Válka ve třetím poschodí
Cizinec a krásná paní
The Stranger and the Beautiful Woman
Cizinec a krásná paní
O ničem a o všem
About Nothing and About Everything
O ničem a o všem
Smyčka
The Noose
Smyčka
Pět a Pat
Five and Pat
Pět a Pat
To byl můj život?? (1. a 2. díl)
It was My Life?
To byl můj život?? (1. a 2. díl)
Čtyři a Cyrano!!
Four and Cyrano!!
Čtyři a Cyrano!!
The White Book on the Adam Juráček Affair against Sir Isaac Newton
Bílá kniha o cause Adam Juráček... contra sir Isaac Newton
Čtyři a Cyrano!!
Four and Cyrano!!
Čtyři a Cyrano!!
Lesk cizího peří
Foreign Feathers Shine
Lesk cizího peří
Hry v posteli
Games in Bed
Hry v posteli
Ta dlouhá vlna za kýlem
The Long Wave After the Keel
Ta dlouhá vlna za kýlem
Ten žena a ta muž
He Woman She Man
Ten žena a ta muž
Šest a sex
Six und Sex
Šest a sex
Z deníku kontrarevolucionáře
From the Diary of a Conter - Revolutionary or Lives from Tank to Tank
Z deníku kontrarevolucionáře
Konec velkých prázdnin
End of the Summer Holidays
Konec velkých prázdnin
The Widow Killer
Hvězdná hodina vrahů
I´m Snowing
Sněžím
Hodina tance a lásky
Dance and Love Lessons
Hodina tance a lásky
Nápady svaté Kláry
Saint Clare´s Ideas
Nápady svaté Kláry
The White Book on the Adam Juráček Affair
Bílá kniha o kauze Adam Juráček
Život v tichém domě: Tři aktovky se společným jmenovatelem
Life in the Quiet House
Život v tichém domě: Tři aktovky se společným jmenovatelem
Ubohý vrah
Pavel Kohout
The Wretched Murderer
Ubohý vrah
Katyně
Katyn
Katyně
Kde je zakopán pes
Where the Dog is Buried
Kde je zakopán pes
Hodina tance a lásky : německá romance
Dance and Love Lessons
Hodina tance a lásky : německá romance
Briefe über die Grenze
Briefe uber die Grenze
Briefe über die Grenze
August August, august
Pavel Kohout
August August, august
August August, august
Cesta kolem světa za 80 dní
Around the World in 80 Days
Cesta kolem světa za 80 dní

He studied aesthetics and theatre science at Charles University in Prague. He was a staunch Communist and the author of socialist poetry, even marrying his first wife on Stalin’s birthday. In the 1960s he started to lean more towards reformist Communism and after the watershed meeting of Czechoslovak Writers in 1967 he became a prominent critic of the party. In 1969, as one of the main representatives of the so-called Prague Spring, was expelled from the party. He was one of the founders of the Charter 77 human rights group, and in 1978 he left with his third wife, the screenplay writer and novelist Jelena Mašínová, for a year’s engagement at the Burgtheatr, after which he was forbidden from returning to Czechoslovakia. He set up home in Vienna and today divides his time between Austria and the Czech Republic, and the author himself says that he feels most at home on the train between Vienna and Prague.

He became famous as the author of more than forty plays. In addition to his own works he has also dramatized Franz Kafka, Karel Čapek, Jaroslava Hašek and Jules Verne. He wrote the play Marie zápasí s anděly (Mary Fights With The Angels, 1981) about the life of the dissident Vlasta Chramostová. Ecce Constantia (1988) is about the trial of John Huss in Konstanz, and the one-act Atest (The Certifcate, 1979) features Václav Havel’s alter ego, Ferdinand Vaněk, who tries to obtain a breeder’s certificate for his dog, but is unable to get one because he is not a member of the Communist Party. The play August August, august (1967) was a success and is about a clown who dreams about Lipizzaners. Pavel Kohout’s plays have been shown now for decades on the great European stages in Vienna, Hamburg and Brussels.

After writing his first short stories Kohout wrote the novel Katyně (Katyn, samizdat Petlice edition, 1978, officially in 1990, Československý spisovatel), where Lizínka is studying at an academy for executioners – the Central College of Execution Science. This absurdly farcical parable describes the unlimited power of a totalitarian system and the ruthless practices of the state apparatus. It also looks at people’s abilities to adapt to absurd conditions.

This was followed by the allegorical novel Nápady svaté Kláry (Saint Clare’s Ideas, samizdat, 1982) about an adolescent girl with clairvoyant abilities, and his key work Kde je zakopán pes (Where the Dog is Buried, samizdat, 1987, officially by Atlantis, 1990). This Memoárromán (Memory-Novel as the author defined the book) is an autobiographical description of the origins of Chapter 77 and the title refers to Kohout’s dog which was poisoned by the secret police. Incidentally, his family have been breeding dachshunds for decades. “The whole narrative has been provocatively stylized to resemble the main character’s continuous conversation with his own dog, because most of the people around him have stopped listening to him due to fear and cowardice. ..In general the novel is detailed, authentic and open, but it is also a one-sided and subjective account of the moral failure on the cultural front following the defeat of the Prague Spring ideals. It examines the behaviour of individuals trying to defiantly preserve an intellectual continuity with democratic traditions, even at the price of persecution and humiliation,” wrote academic Miroslav Zelinský.

The novel Hodina tance a lásky (Dance and Love Lessons, first published in German in 1989, first Czech edition by Československý spisovatel 1992) opened up a new theme for the author – the Second World War (it is set in the Terezín Ghetto), to which he would later return. At the start of the 1990s Kohout worked on his novel Konec velkých prázdnin (End of the Summer Holidays, published first in German in 1990, Czech edition by Paseka, 1996), which is over 600 pages long. He drew on his own experiences to describe the lives of Czechs and Slovaks forced into exile and to survey the passing decades. Along with his screenwriter wife, Jelena Mašínová, Kohout adapted the novel into a popular television series. After the revolution, Kohout returned to the theme of the Second World War, to the political trials shortly afterwards and to descriptions of the Czech Republic today: he wrote Hvězdná hodina vrahů (The Widow Killer, Mladá fronta, 1995), the concise novel Smyčka (The Noose, Pistorius a Olšanská, 2008), the book Cizinec a krásná paní (The Stranger and the Beautiful Woman, Pistorius a Olšanská, 2009) and Tango mortale (Pistorius a Olšanská, 2012).

He also published more memoirs, the double volume Můj život s Hitlerem, Stalinem a Havlem (My Life With Hitler, Stalin and Havel, Academia, 2011) and two editions of reminiscences, Z deníku kontrarevolucionáře (From the Diary of a Counter-Revolutionary, first in German, 1969, in Czech by Mladá fronta in 1997). He writes for newspapers and magazines, and his feuilletons and commentaries have been published in anthologies.

Today he is one of the best-selling and most regularly staged Czech authors abroad.

Foreign rights
Dilia
W: http://www.dilia.cz