15

Slovakia is one of the best kept secrets on the literary map of Europe. The three Slovakian authors Zuska Kepplová, Pavol Rankov and Michal Hvorecký are here to speak about the traditions in which they write. They all started out after the so-called Velvet Revolution of 1989, but each belongs to a different generation. Is there such a thing as Central European literature? To what extent does the communist past still resonate? What do they remember of Czechoslovakia? And last but not least, how do they feel about Brussels and Europe? The three writers will be joined by Abram Muller, a Dutch translator who edits a Slowakian book series. The discussion will be introduced and moderated by Annelies Verbeke, a successful Flemish author who has a special bond with the country.

The central theme of Zuska Kepplová’s prose works is the search for one’s own identity in a new environment and the meaning of home. Her first novel was Buchty švabachom (Sweet Buns with Gothic Script, 2011), for which she was awarded the Ivan Krasko Prize, the Ján Johanides Prize and a nomination for the prestigious Anasoft Litera prize. 57 km od Taškentu (57 km from Tashkent, 2013) and Reflux (2015) followed, which made her once again one of the ten finalists for this Anasoft Litera prize. She lives in Bratislava, where she works for the daily newspaper SME.

Pavol Rankov is a prose writer, essayist and journalist. He is the author of three collections of short stories. His début, S odstupom času (At a Distance in Time, 1995), follows up the tradition of fantastic realism. Rankov employs elements of mystery, mystification, irrationality and, typically for him, a startling punchline. This collection was awarded the Ivan Krasko Prize for the best debut and in 1997 the Jean Monnet Premio Letterario Internazionale. 

Prose writer and publicist, Michal Hvorecký studied aesthetics at the Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra and then spent several years on research stays in the United States, Belgium, Germany, Austria, and Hungary. His debut collection of short stories, Silný pocit čistoty (A Strong Feeling of Chastity), appeared in 1998. In 2001 his next collection of short stories, Lovci & zberači (Hunters & Gatherers), was published. Hvorecký has also written novels: Plyš (Plush, 2005), Eskorta (Escort, 2007) and Dunaj v Amerike (The Danube in America, 2010).