Poet, prose writer, author of children’s books, playwright, copywriter and essayist also writing under the name of Petr Odillo Stradický ze Strdic, a pseudonym which he used up until 2006. Winner of the Magnesia Litera (2015) for prose. His novels have been translated into Spanish, Polish and Hungarian. He was born in Rychnov nad Kněžnou on 9 June 1968.
He made his magazine debut in 1990 with the essay Smrt živá (Live Death) and his book debut with the prose work Obojí pramen (Both the Source, NPDP, 1993). This was followed by Admirál čaje (Tea Admiral, Český spisovatel, 1996), of which Jiří Suchý declared that its author had the most dizzying imagination he had ever come across, Zlomená nadkova (Broken Horseshoes, Petrov, 1997) and První kost božího těla (The First Bone of the Divine Body, Petrov, 1998). From the poems Zpěv motýlů (The Song of the Butterflies, Petrov, 1999) Jiří Staněk singles out the following in Tvar: “In by far the shortest poem, Pohled do zrcadla (A Look in the Mirror) there are only two lines consisting of a total of six words (eyes look mirror / eyes reflect mirror) – but counted without repetition, mirroring or doubling, there are actually only four words: eyes, look, mirror and reflect. Eyes repeat eyes, mirror repeats mirror, the beginning equals the end, only the middle is filled with a true reversal. Sophisticated, not using plays on words, but filled with something physically truthful and substantial, worthy of trust.”
This was followed by a set of allegorical and fantastical prose works, Fosfen (Phosphens, Petrov, 2001), and the collection Černý revolver týdne (Black Revolver of the Week, Petrov, 2004). In 2010, now as Petr Stančík, he compiled his own poetry and published it in collected form under the title Virgonaut (Druhé město, 2010). This gave rise to a comic situation, actually symptomatic of Stančík’s vivid imagination – following his own “death”, he himself prepared a book of his own work for publication. Stančík selected and prepared an anthology of 20th-century Czech poetry For Petrov with the title Ryby katedrál (Fish Cathedral, Petrov, 2002).
As Petr Stančík he embarked on writing books for children, first in the linguistically and imaginatively embellished story Mrkev ho vcucla pod zem (A Carrot Sucked Him Underground, Meander, 2013), in which even a vegetable can walk, and then in the two volumes about Chrujda the Badger – Jezevec Chrujda točí film (Chrujda the Badger Shoots a Film, Meander, 2014) and Jezevec Chrujda staví nejdřív urychlovač a pak zase pomalič (Chrujda the Badger Builds an Accelerator and a Decelerator, Meander, 2015).
Stančík’s prose for adults is dominated by Pérák (The Spring Man, Druhé město, 2008). Pérák is a legendary fictitious hero who was a mainstay of the Czech resistance during the Nazi occupation. He became the subject of many genres and works, and Stančík approached him with his characteristic imagination – although he remains very faithful to the historical facts. As Jan Nejedlý writes in Literární noviny, “The character of Pérák – despite being very variable in folklore – is here a symbol of heroism against the background of the Czechs not fighting, or even collaborating. The author, whom we can say is demurely morbid in the action scenes, does not miss the opportunity for some sharp digs at the painful parts of this country’s history, although he does so as if inadvertently, in the margins, among his explanations about what life was like at the time.”
Another work with a historical theme which is insightful and at the same time wacky is the award-winning novel Mlýn na mumie (Mummy Mill, Druhé město, 2014). This time the hero is Stančík’s Superintendent Durman, a cross between Casanova and Nick Carter from the film Adéla ještě nevečeřela (Dinner for Adele), who is investigating the crime spree of the first serial killer in the history of the Czech lands. This takes place in the year when the repaired astronomical clock on Old Town Square begins to tick again, Smetana presents the Brandenburgers in Bohemia, and Tyrš extols the virtues of floor exercises. As Klára Kubíčková writes in a review in MFDnes, “In his prose work Pérák, about a superhero standing up to the Nazis, Petr Stančík had already made a heartfelt declaration to his two great loves – Prague and hyperbole. Although his latest book, entitled Mlýn na mumie, goes right back to the year 1866, it is a similarly colourful mix of historical characters, events, metaphors and references. (…) It isn’t all that important who the murderer is. Stančík has written a superb novel. At the same time, his imagination is grounded by an encyclopaedic knowledge of history. The book thus has a dual potential: to find itself among the works nominated for literary prizes, and to become a bestseller.”