22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Iva Procházková

Iva Procházková was born in 1953 in Olomouc, Moravia.  From an early age she realized that political reality can impair one’s own free development.  As her father, Jan Procházková, belonged to the “undesired” authors of the “Prague S pr ing”, Iva’s early pr ose and theatre pieces weren’t allowed to be published in her homeland and her applications to universities were also repeatedly rejected.  In 1993 Iva Procházková and her husband, the theatre director Ivan Pokorny, fled to the West where they lived in Vienna, Konstanz and Bremen. Iva Procházková worked on her children’s and young people’s books and wrote pieces for the puppet theatre with which the couple went on tour.  Today Iva Procházková lives as freelance writer with her family in Prague and additionally works for television and with German and Czech theatres.

Shortly after emigrating, Iva Procházková published the children’s book ‘Der Sommer hat Eselsohren’ in Germany in 1984.  The story of Dusan and Johanka who experience exciting adventures during the school holidays, was put on the shortlist for the ‘German Young People’s Literature Prize’. Already in this children’s book, the author shows sensitive feeling towards the longings of the adolescents, their difficulties with adults and with growing up. She shows her young heroes as curious, sensitive and sometimes defiant personalities full of energy.

The main character of her book ‘Die Zeit der geheimen Wünsche’ (1988) for which the author won the ‘German Young People’s Literature Prize’ in 1989, is also like this – Kapka, a high-spirited and courageous figure who discovers the new people and new surroundings of the old town of Prague after moving there. Through the arrest of her father, who was a regime critical sculptor, the young girl is confronted with the conflicts of the adult world.  Kapka’s story is also the story of the end of childhood.  Alongside a humorous call to openness, the ability to be critical and humanity, Iva Procházková’s stories convey hope and courage.  This is also the case in her second young people’s book ‘Soví zpìv’ (1995). In this “negative Utopia”, the subject of which is life in the city of Bremen and the destinies of its inhabitants during a natural catastrophe in 2046, the author describes how 17-year-old Armin confronts a world in which everything is pr edestined and where there is hardly any room for closeness with family and friends.  Mineral wells, compost power stations and solar collectors feign invulnerability and autonomy.  In more than a hundred thought fragments, dialogue sequences, course pr otocols, memories and in-between remarks, the author documents Armin’s attempts, in a rationally organized world, at finding a place of security and answers to questions to which the personal computer advisor can’t help.

In Procházkovás novel for young people, “Wir treffen uns, wenn alle weg sind” (2007, Engl: We’ll meet when everyone’s away), which was singled out with the Friedrich-Gerstäcker-Preis, the author portrays the story of the orphaned boy Mojmr Demeter, who looks after an old woman in the mountains outside Prague while the city is afflicted with a virus epidemic. When he meets a girl, Jessica, one of the few survivors of the catastrophe, he learns how important friendship is – for survival and the “feelgood-effect of affection, courage and tolerance – the true qualities of life” (Literaturen.)

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