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A Czech Dreambook: Dissent as an everyday experience

Panel discussion and Book launch – It’s 1979 in Communist Czechoslovakia and the banned writer Ludvík Vaculík – whose anti-regime manifesto was used by the Soviet Union as a pretext for invading Czechoslovakia – has writer’s block. He begins to keep a diary ‘about things, people and events.’ The result is a unique mixture of diary, dream journal and outright fiction, in which the author, his family, his mistresses, and leading characters of the Czech underground, such as Václav Havel, Jaroslav Seifert, Ivan Klíma, Pavel Kohout, Jiří Kolář, and Daňa Horáková (all using their real names) play major roles, bringing their dilemmas and decisions to life for contemporary readers. Appearing in English translation for the first time, forty years after Vaculík finished the book, this genre-defying and utterly compelling masterpiece serves as an account of life under constant surveillance – something highly relevant today.

Join the Czech Centre London and English PEN as Jonathan Bolton, author of Worlds of Dissent, Gerald Turner, Vaculík’s translator and Daňa Horáková, former dissident, discuss Vaculík’s compelling portrait of dissident life, literary testimony in times of oppression, and the role of women in dissent.


Free Word Centre
60 Farringdon Rd
London, EC1R 3GA United Kingdom
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