Petr Nikl

Petr Nikl

Artist, writer, illustrator, musician and dramatist. Nikl’s father was a painter and his mother was a doll designer. He studied at the secondary school of applied arts in Uherské Hradiště and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. In 1995 he received the Jindřich Chalupecký Award, the most important Czech art prize for younger artists. He has also demonstrated his linguistic talents as a dramatist and a puppeteer. He thinks of himself as a ‘multidisciplinary clown’.


Title Publisher Year Selected published translations Awards
Fairy Tales About the Small Fat Fairy (Pohádky o Malé tlusté víle) Meander 2012
The Weirdos from New York (Divňáci z Ňjújorku) Meander 2012
Yellow Lions (Žlutí lvi) Meander 2011
Across Puzzles (Přeshádky) Meandr 2010
Little Fool (Blázníček) Meander 2009
A Fairy Tale About a Wee Fish Named Rybitinka (Pohádka o Rybitince) Meander 2008
Deer (Jělěňovití) Meander 2008  2008 The Most Beautiful Czech Book – SČUG HOLLAR award for illustration
Puzzles (Záhádky) Meander 2007  2008 Golden Ribbon Award – Art section: Beautiful book for children and youth
 2008 Magnesia Litera – For children and youth
 2008 Magnesia Litera – Book of the Year
 2007 The Most Beautiful Czech Book – Literature for children and youth: 1st place
Linguistic Fairy Tales (Lingvistické pohádky) Meander 2006  2007 Golden Ribbon Award – Literary section: Literature for youth
 2007 Golden Ribbon Award – Art section: Beautiful book for children and youth
 2006 The Most Beautiful Czech Book – Literature for children and youth: 2nd place
Atlas (Atlas) Aulos 2002
Rybaba and The Sea Soul (O Rybabě a Mořské duši) Meander 2002
A Fairy Tale About a Wee Fish Named Rybitinka (Pohádka o Rybitince) Meander 2001
Pohádky o Malé tlusté víle
Fairy Tales About the Small Fat Fairy
Pohádky o Malé tlusté víle
The Weirdos from New York
Divňáci z Ňjújorku
Yellow Lions
Žlutí lvi
Blázníček
Little Fool
Blázníček
Pohádka o Rybitince
A Fairy Tale About a Wee Fish Named Rybitinka
Pohádka o Rybitince
Jělěňovití
Deer
Jělěňovití
Puzzles
Záhádky
Linguistic Fairy Tales
Lingvistické pohádky
Atlas
Petr Nikl
Atlas
Atlas
O Rybabě a Mořské duši
Rybaba and The Sea Soul
O Rybabě a Mořské duši
Pohádka o Rybitince
A Fairy Tale About a Wee Fish Named Rybitinka
Pohádka o Rybitince
Award Year Country
Magnesia Litera – For children and youth 2008 Česká republika
Magnesia Litera – Book of the Year 2008 Česká republika
The Most Beautiful Czech Book – SČUG HOLLAR award for illustration 2008 Česká republika
Golden Ribbon Award – Art section: Beautiful book for children and youth 2008 Česká republika
The Most Beautiful Czech Book – Literature for children and youth: 1st place 2007 Česká republika
Golden Ribbon Award – Literary section: Literature for youth 2007 Česká republika
Golden Ribbon Award – Art section: Beautiful book for children and youth 2007 Česká republika
The Most Beautiful Czech Book – Literature for children and youth: 2nd place 2006 Česká republika
Praise
The author glances at the surface, capturing hairstyles, parts of bodies, pieces of clothing, he allows himself to be enchanted by first impressions and special characteristics. Nikl’s wanderings through New York are reminiscent of N. V. Gogol’s walk along Nevsky Prospect in St Petersburg in his short story of the same name, where coats, dresses, hats and walking sticks are all on parade.
—Markéta Kittlová
iLiteratura

If we leave aside the samizdat notes for the MEHEDAHA theatre group, which Nikl was involved in, and Vyhnání z ráje (Expulsion from Paradise, Divus, 1998), published in connection with the Open Museum Gates project, then Nikl’s first book was Pohádka o Rybitince (A Fairy Tale About a Wee Fish Named Rybitinka, Meander, 2001), which was published soon afterwards in English. There then followed the limited edition Atlas salta (Aulos, 2002) and the fairy tale O Rybabě a Mořské duši (Rybaba and the Sea Soul, Meander, 2002), which won the Ministry of Culture Award in the same year and was also successful in the Most Beautiful Book of the Year competition. Most of Nikl’s other books have gone on to be at least nominated for this award.

Lingvistické pohádky (Linguistic Fairy Tales, Meander, 2006) was written at the start of the 1990s as a gift for his wife Pavla. Thanks to the publisher Iva Pecháčková, this original fine-art book was made accessible to readers. The book was awarded two IBBY Golden Ribbons, it came second in the Most Beautiful Book of 2006 and was placed on the IBBY international honorary list. The author characterized the collection of twenty-two one-page fairy stories, written in prose and verse, as “linguistic somersaults” and “little nonsenses”. The book begins by telling the story of the world’s largest giraffe, which, together with the animals slumbering on its neck, sleepwalks across the world until one morning it finds itself in Linguistica. The natives (linguists) invent linguistic fables about animals which become the linguistic fairy tales.

Záhádky (Puzzles, Meander, 2007) was awarded a Magnesia Litera for book of the year as well as best book for children and youth. In a review for the newspaper MFDnes Alice Horáčková wrote, “Záhádky combines poetry and prose, absurdity and reality, words and pictures. A mouse peeks out from a kangaroo’s pouch and the speedy soft snails scrape. The book also includes eight pages cut into thirds, which can be almost endlessly swapped and combined, with each one attaching to the other.”

Jělěnovití (Deer, Meander, 2008), with its subtitle of Lesní lyrika (Forest Lyricism), not only presents the reader with forest creatures in pictures, but there is again some poetic text. One year later, Nikl’s Blázníček (Little Fool, Meander, 2009) was published, which leaves the world of animals and takes a fanciful look at the world of people.

Critic Radim Kopáč described Přeshádky (Across Puzzles, Meander, 2010) thus: “Nikl has suddenly opened up metaphysical themes: he puzzles over myths, discusses the cosmic silence and follows what God has to say about it all. He is no longer in the safety of a fairy-tale dream world, but wanders across the endless, mysterious cosmos.” With the collection Žlutí lvi (Yellow Lions, Meander, 2011), Nikl returns to the very first book he wrote as a student in 1986, but only made a few copies. The story revolves around a mysterious dream about a lion.

Divňáci z Ňjújorku (The Weirdos from New York, Meander, 2012) is more of a book for adults. After a two-year artistic residence in America, Nikl documented the human diversity he had witnessed by photographing the residents of New York and using those photographs to draw their portraits. Each was accompanied by a poem.

As a tribute to his mother, who designed many of the toys for Fatra Napajedla, he published Foukací povídky (Inflatable Short Stories, Meander, 2013).

In addition to the books mentioned, Nikl has also illustrated dozens of collections by other authors and has contributed to several of his exhibition catalogues.

Notable awards
 2008 Magnesia Litera – Book of the Year
 2008 Golden Ribbon Award – Art section: Beautiful book for children and youth
 2008 Magnesia Litera – For children and youth
 2007 Golden Ribbon Award – Literary section: Literature for youth
 2007 Golden Ribbon Award – Art section: Beautiful book for children and youth
Contacts
E: pnikl@tiscali.cz