Guest 2011.

Jaroslav Rudiš [ Czech Republic ]

The Czech writer and playwright Jaroslav Rudiš was born in Turnov (Bohemia) in 1972. He studied German history in Liberec, Prague und Zurich, in order to subsequently spend an intermezzo working as a German language teacher. Thanks to a scholarship for journalists he was able to travel to Berlin, where he wrote his first novel »Nebe pod Berlínem« (2002; tr. The Sky under Berlin) − a declaration of love to the Berlin underground.
In his picaresque novel the underground world of the German capital is the rallying point of street musicians, suicides, honest workers and homeless people. A young German language teacher from Prague sets up a rock band named »U-BAHN« (Underground), and meets an underground driver who tells him about secret gangways and tunnels, and ghosts of suicide victims that persecute him on the tracks. In his debut Rudiš creates an unusual, tragicomic world inhabited by outsiders. He approaches his figures with dedicated emphasis. »Hrabal is clearly my model, in his language as well as in his subject: little heroes who paint the picture of the great world. And who know more about it than some intellectuals. Minor heroes and outsiders: that’s my world « (in an interview in 2003). A failed outsider is also the protagonist of his second novel: »Grandhotel« (2006; tr. Grand Hotel) is a rather peculiar story in a remote location. Fleischmann is a temp who lives in the tip of a 90-metre-high missile. He dreams of leaving this place, but panic attacks repeatedly keep him from doing so. His cousin and foster father makes fun of him, because he lacks experience with women, and sometimes beat him, too. Yet Fleischman finds consolation in the contemplation of the different forms of clouds and his love for the weather girl on TV. The novel is written in simple, unpretentious language, which is appropriate for the timid first-person narrator. Rudiš also wrote the screenplay for the movie with the same title, which was shown in Czech cinemas when the novel was published. He also played a supporting role in the film. His third novel »Potichu« (tr: The silence) was published in the Czech Republic in 2007, and »Konec punku v Helsinkách« (tr. The End of Punk in Helsinki) in 2010.
Rudiš also writes in the German language. Together with Martin Becker he worked on the audio plays »Lost in Praha«, »Plattenbaucowboys« (WDR, 2008/2011) and the libretto for the opera »Exit 89« (Berlin and Prague 2008). In collaboration with Jaromír Švejdík he created the cartoon character »Alois Nebel«, and founded the band »The Bombers« with his Czech publisher in 2007. For his first novel he received the Jiří Orten Award in 2002, and in 2007 he was elected one of the 30 most important personalities in politics and society in the Czech Republic. Jaroslav Rudiš lives and works in Lomnice nad Popelkou, Prague and Leipzig.

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