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Monika Zgustova

Visat núm. 1
(gener 2006)
by Monika Zgustova
Monika Zgustova has translated more than forty books of Russian and Czech fiction and poetry into both Spanish and Catalan (Dostoevsky, Babel, Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva among others). Her translations from the Czech, which include ten works by Bohumil Hrabal and Vaclav Havel, together with other internationally known masterpieces by Jaroslav Hasek and Milan Kundera, have made her a key figure in the introduction of major Czech 20th century fiction into Spain.

She was born in Prague. In the 1970s she studied comparative literature at the University of Illinois (USA). Having obtained her PhD she moved to Barcelona in the early 1980s and became a permanent resident of the city, teaching translation at the Universitat Autonoma, writing for various publications, including the “El Pais” newspaper, as well as a variety of cultural magazines published in Spain and abroad (more than 300 articles). She published the Russian-Catalan dictionary (in co-authorship).

The high quality of her translations was awarded by a set of awards, including, among others, the Serra d'Or award (1989, by the prestigious cultural magazine of the same name), the Barcelona City award and the Catalan Letters award (both in 1995), and the Masaryk award „Gratias Agit“, by the Czech State in 2004.

She has given speeches and lectures on Central Europe and its culture at Yale, Ohio State University and the University of Michigan, as well as in different universities and cultural centers of Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Warsaw, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Montreal, among others. From 1989 to 1999 she worked with the president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel, as translator, interpreter and journalist both in Prague and during his visits abroad. She published her interviews with him in several European newspapers.

She has published the first biography of Bohumil Hrabal, The Bitter Fruit of the Garden of Delights, which was published in 1996 and has since been translated into seven languages.

She has also published three works of fiction translated into several languages: The Woman of a Hundred Smiles (2000), a novel; a play (a theater version of The Adventures of the Brave Soldier Svejk, 1999) which has been premiered; and Peppermint Frappé (2002), a novel. Her latest novel, The Silent Woman, will be soon published simultaneously in three languages.

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