Josef Škvorecký Award shortlist announced

The jury of the prestigious award will select the winner at the beginning of November.



The prize organised by the Josef Škvorecký Society is awarded to the best book of the previous twelve months. The longlist of fifteen books has been narrowed down to the following five:

Anna Bolavá: Do tmy (Into Darkness)

What Anna Bolavá achieved with this book happens very rarely: Into Darkness is her prose debut, yet everyone agrees that it has none of the common shortcomings of first novels. From the beginning, this story of a lonely, ill woman who has dedicated most of her life to collecting, drying and providing medicinal plants, has apocalyptic undertones. The novel won the 2016 Magnesia Litera Award for prose.

Zuzana Brabcová: Voliéry (Aviaries)

Aviaries is an intimate diary account of a neurotically oversensitive perception of the world around us. As in her previous works, here too Brabcová works bewitchingly with language, pulsating from bare recording to supreme metaphoricalness, from lyrical tropes to vulgarity, revealing motifs of being alone and lost in a world that has ceased to make sense.

Daniel Petr: Straka na šibenici (The Magpie on the Gallows)

Although the hero of this novel is of above-average intelligence and learns to read earlier than his peers, his father’s warped views on education remain in thrall to spectre-filled ignorance that is practically medieval. As the hero’s life lurches from one mishap to the next, Bruegel’s painting, The Magpie on the Gallows, keeps appearing to him as a fateful riddle he needs to solve.

Sylva Fischerová: Bizom aneb Služba a mise (Bizom or Service and Mission)

The unusually composed narrative of this book has many levels and layers while focussing on the basic questions about the relationship between the individual and society: What is human fate, why are we born, what are we born into, what is history? What is freedom?

Markéta Pilátová: Hrdina od Madridu (The Hero from Madrid)

A fragile novel about the meeting of a Spanish civil war veteran, František, and Spanish student, Carmen, who is searching for stories about the lives of old, forgotten warriors. In different ways they are both looking for the answer to the same question: what makes a man go to fight in foreign lands? Ideals? The desire for adventure? Love?