Contemporary Czech Prose Writers

Alexandra Berková

Alexandra Berková was born in Trencin, Slovakia, in 1949. She trained as glass-maker and later studied Czech language and literature and art education at Charles University, earning her PhD with a dissertation on Karel Capek. She worked as publishing editor before turning to writing prose and TV scripts, and currently teaches creative writing at the Josef `kvorecký College in Prague. In 1989 she helped to found the Czech Centre of the P.E.N. Club and the Community of Writers. She is also active in the feminist movement. Working with Czech television since the early 1980s, she has written a number of scripts dealing with gender issues and relationships between the sexes: for example Pánská jízda (Boy's Night Out), Bumerang (Boomerang), Dámská jízda (Girl's Night Out), Co tede a co potom? (What Now and What Then?). Berkova's experimental prose is a mixture of fairy-tale, allegory, dada and satire. Her first book, the short-story collection Knízka cerveným obalem (The book with a red cover, 1986) is a feminist take on the genre of sentimental literature for women, following the heroines through crucial stages of their lives: birth, adolescence, marriage, motherhood and death. The novella Magorie aneb Príbeh velké lásky (Magoria or : A Tale of Great Love, 1991) for which the author won the Egon Hostovský prize in 1991 is a satirical portrait of the politically complicit Czechoslovak society at the end of the 1980s based on a well-known Czech children's classic. The ballad-like allegory Utrpení oddaného Vaiváka (The Sufferings of a Devoted Lousehead, 1994), depicts a fallen angel as an impractical loser continually trapped in the snares of contemporary world. Her latest work of fiction, Temná láska (Dark Love), is a painful, hyperbolically rendered account of man-woman relationship. Her work has been included in This Side of Reality, Allskin and Daylight in Nightclub Inferno.

Rights: Petrov

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