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Radka Denemarková is awarded the MAGNESIA LITERA Prize for the Book of the Year 2019.

Radka Denemarková, Hodiny z olova

The book of the year 2019 is the multi-layered novel "Hodiny z olova" (Hours of Lead) by Radka Denemarková. The author criticizes the European society for her goodwill towards the regime in China:

"We admire the People's Republic, because economically everything works wonderfully. But no one would like to see that the worst of capitalism and communism have united there. I have artistically processed this topic."

The author got her inspiration from her many visits to China. Because of her criticism, the authorities in Beijing have meanwhile issued her with a travel ban:

"It was hard work and I spent five years working on this the book. Life brings me the topics that I would like to examine with my novels. In those five years, I was paralyzed respectively shocked. I believed that we could forget all the topics that I actually hate. But then everything is here: racism, anti-Semitism, sexism."

In her novel, Denemarková paints a ruthless picture of the communist regime in China, but also talks about the crisis in European society and the search for the meaning of life:

"This is my life's work. I gave everything as if I had written the last book of my life. With the novel, I also wanted to show that we are part of a globalized world. It's not like the nationalists in the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Russia believe. They claim we are the best. No, we are connected, we are part of a humanity. "

Radka Denemarková has already won the Magnesia Litera Prize for the categories Prose (2006), Nonfiction (2008), and Translation (Herta Müller) 2011. She is considered as one of the most important Czech literary voices of the present.


HODINY Z OLOVA is published by Host, Brno (2018). All translation rights are available.