Tom Stoppard Prize for Sylvie Richterová

The annual prize was first awarded in 1983 and is given to Czech authors for an essay of special significance.


Sylive Richterová. Photograph: Jindřich Nosek/Wikipedia.

Sylive Richterová. Photograph: Jindřich Nosek/Wikipedia.

Author, poet and essayist, Sylvie Richterová, received the award for Essays on Czech Literature (Eseje o české literatuře, Pulchra, 2016), a collection of essays written between 19752015. In forty five texts divided into nine sections, she focuses on Jaroslav Hašek and the interpretations of comedy and laughter, Karel Čapek, Czech poetry (from Vladimír Holan to Miloslav Topinka and Ivan Wernisch), journal literature, Milan Kundera, Věra Linhartová, thematological and anthropological analyses, the position of the writer in society in relation to phenomena such as communist dictatorship, and John Amos Comenius. And she does so in language that is not designed just for literary scholars.

Since 1971, Richterová has been living in Italy, and after 1989, alternately also in Prague. She writes in Czech and Italian. Before 1989, she worked with magazines and publishing houses in exile and gave lectures at Italian universities. Her first prose, Returns and Other Losses (Návraty a jiné ztráty) came out in samizdat (1977) and, was later published by Sixty-Eight Publishers. She has won the Czech Literary Fund Foundation prize twice (1994, 2016). Her books have been published in Bulgarian, French, Italian and German.

The award, organised by the Charter 77 Foundation, was presented on 31 May at the residence of the Prague mayor.