23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Jaroslav Rudiš
© Hartwig Klappert

Jaroslav Rudiš

The Czech writer and playwright Jaroslav Rudiš was born in the Bohemian town of Turnov in 1972. After studying German and history in Liberec, Prague und Zurich he worked briefly as a German language teacher until he received a journalism scholarship that brought him to Berlin.

In his first novel »Nebe pod Berlínem« (2002; tr. The Sky under Berlin), Berlin’s underground becomes a collecting point for street musicians, suicides, honest workers and the homeless. Rudiš creates an unusual, tragicomic world inhabited by outsiders. He approaches his figures with dedicated emphasis. »Hrabal is clearly my model, in his language as well as in his subject: little heroes who paint the picture of the great world. And who know more about it than some intellectuals. Minor heroes and outsiders: that’s my world « (in an interview in 2003). A failed outsider is also the protagonist of his second novel: »Grandhotel« (2006; tr. Grand Hotel) is a rather peculiar story in a remote location. Fleischmann is a temp who lives in the tip of a 90-metre-high missile. He dreams of leaving this place, but panic attacks repeatedly keep him from doing so. The novel was filmed in the Czech Republic in 2006. Rudiš wrote the screenplay and also played a supporting role in the film. His novel »Potichu« (2007; tr. The silence) captures the atmosphere of life in the Czech capital in the entangled stories of five different characters. »Národní třída« (tr: National Boulevard) picks up literarily on the way many Czechs feel, their hopes of a better life in the wake of Communism dashed. In »Konec punku v Helsinkách« (2010; tr. About the end of punk in Helsinki) the protagonist Ole embarks on a journey through the Czech Republic to the darkest point of his past: 1987, when he tried to flee by crossing the »green border«, during which Nancy died.

Rudiš also wrote together with Martin Becker in the German language, working on the audio plays »Lost in Praha« (tr. Lost in Prague), »Plattenbaucowboys« (Conrete Jungle Cowboys) broadcast by WDR, in 2008 and 2011 respectively, as well as the libretto for the opera »Exit 89« (Berlin and Prague 2008). In collaboration with Jaromír Švejdík he created the cartoon character »Alois Nebel«, whose dark experiences under the influence of a great deal of beer and in the service of the Czech Railway were the subject of an animated film that won the European Film Prize in 2012. Rudiš received the Jiří Orten Award in 2002 for his first novel, and in 2007, he was chosen as one of the Czech Republic’s thirty most important personalities next to representatives from the worlds of politics and society. He held the 2012/13 Seigfried Unsfeld visiting professorship at the Humboldt University in Berlin and, in 2014, he received the Usedom Literature Prize. In 2013, he formed the Kafka Band, which set »The Castle« von Franz Kafka to music. He lives alternately in the Czech Republic and Germany.


Der Himmel unter Berlin
Rowohlt Berlin
Berlin, 2004
[Ü: Eva Profousová]

München, 2008
[Ü: Eva Profousová]

Prag, 2007

Konec punku v Helsinkách
Prag, 2010

Alois Nebel

Voland & Quist
Dresden, 2012
[Eva Profousová]