Král is a poet, novelist, essayist, film theoretician, translator and Commander of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He emigrated to France in 1968 where he worked as a teacher, photo-laboratory worker, interpreter and assistant editor at Gallimard publishers, before going on to study film. He returned permanently to Prague in 2006. Three of his books have been published in English by Pushkin Press — Loving Venice, In Search of the Essence of Place and Working Knowledge.
First awarded in 2004, the annual Jean Arp Prize aims to promote the diversity of francophone literature. Petr Král is only the second author from a country where French is not an official language to win the award. A French edition of his 2013 collection of poetry, Přivítat pondělí (Welcome the Monday), will be published to coincide with the prize.