Petra Hůlová’s ‘Three Plastic Rooms’ receives PEN Translates award

Alex Zucker’s English translation of Hůlová’s fourth novel will be published in November.


Petra Hůlová. Photograph: Tomáš Novák & Jan Rasch.

Petra Hůlová. Photograph: Tomáš Novák & Jan Rasch.

On 8th June, English PEN announced its latest list of PEN Translates award winners. The list includes books translated from 14 languages and 16 countries, including an Uyghur memoir, Palestinian short stories, Somali poetry and Petra Hůlová’s Three Plastic Rooms.

Books are selected for PEN Translates awards on the basis of outstanding literary quality, strength and innovation of the publishing project, and contribution to literary diversity in the UK. Awards are made to publishers to cover the English language translation costs. Every book receiving an English PEN award is featured on the English PEN World Bookshelf website, in partnership with Foyles bookshop.

Petra Hůlová (b. 1979) graduated in Cultural and Mongolian Studies from Charles University’s Faculty of Arts. She is the author of several bestselling novels in which she works creatively with language and the expressive narrative potential of combining themes from exotic or multicultural localities. Her books have been translated into more than ten languages, including English, German and Italian.

This is the second time translator Alex Zucker has received the PEN Translates award, his translation of Jáchym Topol’s The Devil’s Workshop was selected for the award in 2013. Zucker also translated Hůlová’s debut novel, All This Belongs to Me, in 2009, which won the 2010 National Translation Award.

Three Plastic Rooms, a frank and open monologue by an ageing prostitute, will be published in November by Jantar Publishing (London, UK).