Born 10. November 1938 in
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
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
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.
Since April 2005: Director,
Diplomatic Academy, Vienna.
Honours and Awards:
Internationaler Brücke-Preis zu
Inter Nationes-Kulturpreis 1998
Jarosla Seifert Preis 2002
Silbernes Ehrenkreuz des Landes
Silbernes Komturkreuz mit dem
Stern des Ehrenyeichens für
Verdienste um das Budesland Niederösterreich
Großes goldenes Ehrenyeichen am
Großes Verdienstkreuy mit Stern
des Verdienstrodens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland 2006
Member of the P.E.N.
- Clubs in Austria, Germany and the Czech
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
Honorary president of the
Austrian Society for European Politics (Österreichische Gesellschaft für
(The Satchel), poems, Prag
(The light period), poems, Prag 1964.
(Learning - Suffering), poems, Prag 1969.
Modlitba k Janince
(Prayer to Janinka), poems, Prag 1972.
(Ladies gambit), Novel, Prag 1974, Toronto 1978.
(the questionnaire), Novel, Prag 1975, Hamburg 1979, Toronto 1978,
Stockholm 1979, London 1982, Amsterdam 1983, Warschau 1987, Prag 1990,
(the hour named hope), Anthology, Toronto 1978, Frankfurt 1978.
Slovnik ceskych spisovatelu
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.
Anthology of banned Czech authors, Köln 1983.
novel, Köln 1984 (the German version of Dr. Kokea).
Mimner oder Das Tier der
Trauer (Minner of
the animal of mourning) Köln 1986.
Poems, Stuttgart 1990.
Prag - einst Stadt der
Tschechen, Deutschen und Juden,
(Prague, once the city of Czechs, German and Jews) Co-editor, München
Poems, Stuttgart 1994.
for Czechia), München: Piper Verlag GmbH, 1999, 2003, 2005.
(Homeless and Happy) Hohenheim, 2002.
(The art of aging), Prague, 2004.
Franz Kafka (short stories)
Johann Nepomuk Nestroy (Häuptling
Friedrich Schiller (Wallenstein)
Rainer Maria Rilke (Duineser