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Prof. Dr. Jiri Gruša

 
  

 

       

                         

     
 

 

Born 10. November 1938 in Pardubice (Bohemia).

Studied at Prague Charles University (philosophy and literature), obtained doctorate in philosophy in 1962.

Founded in 1964 the first non-communist literary magazine Tvar (Face), Contributors included Klaus, Havel, Uhde, etc. This magazine was soon banned.

In 1964 Grusa clashed with the political and literary nomenclature over an article on Stalinist poetry of the 50th.

In 1965 he founded Sesity (Notebook), another magazine for young writers. This was banned in 1969.

In 1965 he was also appointed editor in the publishing house Nove Knihy (New books) and worked as journalist, poet, prose-writer, essayist and tranlastor (Rilke, Kafka).

In 1968 he wrote for the weekly magazine Zitrek (Tomorrow). This magazine only survived a short time and was banned before the end of 1968.

Grusa took part in the Prague spring of 1968.

In 1969 he came before Communist authorities after publication of extract from his novel Mimner in the magazine Sesity. This culminated in 1970 in a ban on his professional work. During the regime of Gustav Husak, Grusa was employed in a contruction company.

In 1977 he signed the Charta 77.

Form 1972 - 1980 he wrote for a samisdat publication: Edice petlice (Edition chain).

In 1978 he published Hour called Hope in Czech and German.

After publication of this first novel Dotaznik (Questionnaire) he was arrested. However, thanks to the intervention of Heinrich Böll he obtained his release, and in December 1980 Grusa was allowed to travel to USA.

In 1981, while abroad, the Czech authorities deprived him, against his will, of his nationality and he deceded to settle in Bonn, working as a freelance editor.

In 1983 Grusa obtained German citizenship.

Among his working in Germany, he edited Havels Letters to Olga, published an anthology of Czech writers entitled Ostracised poets in Cologne 1983, a memorial edition Prague Spring, Prague Autumn in 1988.

After the collapse of the Communist block in the new Czechoslovak government appointed Grusa as the countrys Ambassador to Germany. He remained as Ambassador of the Czech Republic after the split with Slovakia in 1993.

In 1997 he joined the Czech government as Minister of Education, Youth and Sports.

In 1998-2004: Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Austria.

Since 2004 President of P.E.N. International.

Since April 2005: Director, Diplomatic Academy, Vienna.

Honours and Awards:

Jiri-Kolar-Preis 1976

Egon-Hostovsky-Preis 1978

Andreas-Gryphius-Preis 1996

Internationaler Brücke-Preis zu Görlitz 1998

Inter Nationes-Kulturpreis 1998

Goete-Medaille 1999

Jarosla Seifert Preis 2002

Silbernes Ehrenkreuz des Landes Oberösterreich 2005

Silbernes Komturkreuz mit dem Stern des Ehrenyeichens für Verdienste um das Budesland Niederösterreich 2004

Großes goldenes Ehrenyeichen am Bande 2004

Großes Verdienstkreuy mit Stern des Verdienstrodens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland 2006

 

Member of the P.E.N. - Clubs in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic

 

Chairman of the Documentation Centre for independent literature (Dokumentationszentrum der unabhängigen Literatur Schwarzenberg/Scheinfeld)

Member of the German Academy for langauge and literature (Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung)

Member of the Free academy of Arts, Hamburg (Freie Akademie der Künste in Hamburg)

Honorary member of the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe (Institut für den Donauraum und Mitteleuropa)

Member of the European Academy for Sciences and the Arts (Europäischen Akademie der Wissenschaften und Künste)

Honorary president of the Austrian Society for European Politics (Österreichische Gesellschaft für Europapolitik)

Publications:

Torna (The Satchel), poems, Prag 1962.

Svetla Ihuta (The light period), poems, Prag 1964.

Cviceni muceni (Learning - Suffering), poems, Prag 1969.

Modlitba k Janince (Prayer to Janinka), poems, Prag 1972.

Damsky gambit (Ladies gambit), Novel, Prag 1974, Toronto 1978.

Dotaznik (the questionnaire), Novel, Prag 1975, Hamburg 1979, Toronto 1978, Stockholm 1979, London 1982, Amsterdam 1983, Warschau 1987, Prag 1990, Warschau 2001.

Hodina nadeje (the hour named hope), Anthology, Toronto 1978, Frankfurt 1978.

Slovnik ceskych spisovatelu 1948-1978 (The Czech writers Encyclopaedia), Co-editor, Prag 1980 Samisdat, Toronto 1982, Prag 1990.

Dr. Kokes, mistr Panny, Roman, Toronto 1983, Prag 1991.

Franz Kafka aus Prag, Frankfurt 1983, New York, London 1983.

Verfemte Dichter, Anthology of banned Czech authors, Köln 1983.

Janinka, novel, Köln 1984 (the German version of Dr. Kokea).

Mimner oder Das Tier der Trauer (Minner of the animal of mourning) Köln 1986.

Babylonwald, Poems, Stuttgart 1990.

Prag - einst Stadt der Tschechen, Deutschen und Juden, (Prague, once the city of Czechs, German and Jews) Co-editor, München 1993.

Wandersteine, Poems, Stuttgart 1994.

Gebrauchsanweisung für Tschechien (Blueprint for Czechia), München: Piper Verlag GmbH, 1999, 2003, 2005.

Glücklich Heimatlos (Homeless and Happy) Hohenheim, 2002.

Umeni starnout (The art of aging), Prague, 2004.

Translations:

Franz Kafka (short stories)

Johann Nepomuk Nestroy (Häuptling Aberndwind)

Friedrich Schiller (Wallenstein)

Rainer Maria Rilke (Duineser Elegien)