Radka Denemarková, born 1968, is a Czech novelist, dramatist, scenarist, essayist, translator of German literature, and creative writing teacher. The only Czech writer who has received Magnesia Litera prizes four times (in different categories – for prose, non-fiction, translation and Book of the Year 2019).
She studied German and Czech at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, gaining her doctorate in 1997. She worked as a researcher at the Institute for Czech Literature of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and was dramatic advisor at the Divadlo Na Zábradlí theatre in Prague. She has been freelance since 2004.
She is the author of Sám sobě nepřítelem / Being My Own Enemy (1998; a monograph about theatre and film director Evald Schorm), Ohlédnutí za Milenou Honzíkovou /Remembering Milena Honzíková (2003; in: Dopis zmizelému / Letter to the One Who Disappeared) and is the editor of the anthology Zlatá šedesátá / The Golden Sixties (2000). Her debut work of fiction A já pořád kdo to tluče / The Devil by the Nose was published in 2005, followed a year later by the novel Peníze od Hitlera / Money from Hitler (winner of the prestigious Magnesia Litera prize for the year’s best work of prose). The Polish edition of the latter work was nominated for the Angelus Prize (2009), while the German edition Ein herrlicher Flecken Erde (DVA 2011) won the Usedom Prize for Literature (2011) and Georg Dehio Prize (2012). For the monograph Smrt, nebudeš se báti aneb Příběh Petra Lébla / Death, Thou Shall Not Be Afraid: The Story of Petr Lébl (2008) she won a Magnesia Litera for the year’s best work of non-fiction. In 2010 the Na zábradlí theatre produced her play Spací vady / Sleeping Disorders. For her rendering of Nobel Prize winner Herta Müller’s Atemschaukel (Czech title: Rozhoupaný dech), Radka Denemarková won the 2011 Magnesia Litera for translation of the year. Her double novel Kobold: An Abundance of Tenderness / An Abundance of People was published in 2011. In autumn 2014 she published a novel Příspěvek k dějinám radosti / A Contribution to History of Joy. Her book US 2 / MY 2 (2014) was filmed (directed by Slobodanka Radun, premiered November 2014). For her latest novel Hodiny z olova / Hours of Lead (2018) Denemarková won the Magnesia Litera prize in the category Book of the Year. In 2019, she was awarded a Swiss prize Spycher Literaturpreis Leuk for her novel A Contribution to the History of Joy. In 2021 her essay on the Holocaust was published in the book As If It All Happened Yesterday (Jako by se to všechno stalo včera / Als wäre das alles gestern geschehen). The novel Hours of Lead was awarded Literary Prize of Styria (Literaturpreis des Landes Steiermark) in 2022.
Radka Denemarková’s works have been translated into 23 languages.
She lives in Prague with daughter Ester and son Jan.
Radka Denemarková has joined the ranks of those who can be expected to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
— Daniela Strigl, Ex libris, ÖRF Ö1
2022 Literaturpreis des Landes Steiermark (Literary Prize of the State of Styria), Austria (novel Hours of Lead)
2019 Magnesia Litera Prize Book of the Year (novel Hodiny z olova)
2019 Spycher: Literaturpreis Leuk (Spycher: Literary Prize Leuk), Switzerland (novel A Contribution to the History of Joy)
2017 Honorary Writer of the City of Graz 2017/2018, Austria
2016 WALD Press AWARD for literary work which not only explores new possibilities for the literary form of the novel itself, but also boldly breaks taboos by dealing with topics concerning especially the weak and vulnerable
2012 Georg-Dehio-Buchpreis (Georg Dehio Book Prize), Germany, Berlin (for the novel Money from Hitler)
2012 Annual Mladá fronta Publishing House Award for the translation of Herta Müller’s Herztier (Srdce bestie)
2011 Magnesia Litera Prize for the best translation of Herta Müller’s Atemschaukel (Rozhoupaný dech)
2011 Usedomer Literaturpreis (Usedom Literature Prize) awarded by German literary critics (for the novel Money from Hitler)
2009 Magnesia Litera Prize for the best book in the category of journalism (for the documentary novel Death, Thou Shall Not Be Afraid: the Story of Petr Lébl)
2007 Magnesia Litera Prize for the best prose work of the year (for the novel Money from Hitler)
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