Friday, May 24, 2013

England and Holland Behind Him, Topol Takes Devil's Workshop to Hay

Those who know Jáchym Topol know he's got charm and wit to spare. To see what I mean, check out his appearance last week at the EUNIC European Literature Night in Amsterdam (three videos: one, two, three).

Jáchym Topol and Margot Dijkgraaf at De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam, May 14, 2013.

The next night Londoners got a chance to see Topol in action, together with Rosie Goldsmith of the BBC, at the British Library:

Jáchym Topol and Rosie Goldsmith at the British Library, London, May 15, 2013.
As EUNIC London tweeted live from the event:

  • The Devil's Workshop takes place in former concentration camp where Ghetto pizza and Kafka Tshirts are sold. A provocative book 
  • Jachym Topol: 'I don't write different for the underground or the overground' 
  • Jáchym Topol makes us laugh and tells us more about The Devil's Workshop

Tomorrow afternoon at the world-renowned Hay Festival will be Topol's next public appearance. Tickets here. As I wrote previously, he'll be in conversation with Jo Glanville of Index on Censorship and prize-winning Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng.

A reminder: The Devil's Workshop's official release is June 6, 2013 — just two weeks away!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"A Little Honey," by Jáchym Topol, featured on PEN Atlas

In advance of Czech author Jáchym Topol's appearance at European Literature Night tomorrow in London, English PEN posted his short story "A Little Honey" on PEN Atlas last week. The story was translated by Alex Zucker.

Czech author Jáchym Topol

PEN Atlas described the story as "a moving piece of writing . . . about a man and his ailing mother."

Topol's visit to London comes in advance of the publication of The Devil's Workshop, his latest novel in English translation, out from Portobello Books in June.

Appearing along with Topol at the British Library Conference Centre tomorrow night will be authors Norbert Gstrein of Austria, Miha Mazzini of Slovenia, Erwin Mortier of Belgium, Jordi Puntí of Spain, Ece Temelkuran of Turkey, Birgit Vanderbeke of Germany, and Frank Westerman of the Netherlands.

Rosie Goldsmith of the BBC will chair the event, which as of this writing was sold out.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Genocide, History, Fame: Jáchym Topol Has a Lot on His Mind

"Set in the Terezín ghetto and in Belarus, [The Devil's Workshop] continues Topol’s practice of re-examining history through the surrealist-tinted lens of his imagination. The subject of [his latest novel] is Topol’s darkest yet: the Belarusian genocide, propagated by the Nazis as part of Generalplan Ost, the ethnic cleansing of Eastern Europe which led to the death of approximately 4 million men, women and children, about half the population of Belarus. 'Belarus shocked me. I went there because one of my books was published there, and I learned what many people still do not realize: that the country is an unhappy place where the machinery of mass murder was tested,' he said."

—"Author is hemmed in by history," The Prague Post, Oct. 13, 2010

Chladnou zemí original cover
Cover of Chladnou zemí (2009), now
available in English as The Devil's Workshop.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Topol Takes Devil’s Workshop to UK in Upcoming Appearances

Literature fans in the UK will have two chances to see and hear award-winning Czech author Jáchym Topol in the coming days.

Jáchym Topol, author of The Devil's Workshop
Jáchym Topol, author of The Devil’s Workshop
First, this coming Wednesday, May 15, he'll be at the British Library Conference Centre, in London, along with seven other authors, for European Literature Night 2013, hosted by BBC journalist Rosie Goldsmith  (book tickets here).

Next, on Saturday, May 25, Topol will appear at the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts, in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, speaking to Jo Glanville of Index on Censorship, together with Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng (book tickets here).

Visit the Portobello Books website to purchase your copy of Topol's novel, and follow this blog for news and reviews about The Devil's Workshop, out June 18 in the UK and August 1 in the U.S.

Devil’s Workshop wins English PEN Award

On November 26, 2012, English PEN named The Devil's Workshop by Jáchym Topol as a recipient of the 2013 English PEN Award for Writing in Translation.

The press release said the award was given to recognize "translated works of fiction, non-fiction or poetry which contribute to inter-cultural understanding and promote freedom of expression."

As the publisher of Topol's novel, the London-based Portobello Books will receive support from English PEN to help promote The Devil's Workshop in the UK.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Introducing The Devil's Workshop: a novel by Jáchym Topol, translated from the Czech by Alex Zucker

For starters: the official page at Portobello Books, with links to purchase the novel from Amazon or Waterstone's. UK pub date is June 6, 2013. Ingram will distribute the book in the States beginning August 1. The eye-catching cover was designed by Bobby Evans of Telegramme Studio.