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Pavel Kohout

Poet and dramaturge


Born in Prague, Pavel Kohout is one of the most renowned Czech authors. A poet, journalist, dramaturge, theatre and film director, prose-writer, he has primarily been perceived as a playwright. He has created 30 original plays of his own, while the number of his dramatisations and adaptations has to date reached almost 20.
Although Kohout’s literary work has changed over time in line with his assuming different personal opinions, ranging from embracing naïve collectivism, through promoting the ideals of reform socialism, to consistently voicing disapproval of the Communist regime during the time of the “normalisation”, as well as caustically criticising some of the phenomena of the democratic society that followed, as a whole, it has always striven to give a portrayal of the respective era and social atmosphere in a kind of authentic morality, by means of which the author has tried to retroactively affect the world in which he has lived. As an artist possessing a great sense for drama, Kohout has pursued his own path even at the time when the Communist totalitarian aesthetics enforced compliance with its obligatory models of plots and literary techniques. In the late 1960s, the adherence to his artistic principles resulted in his breaking away from the Communist regime, which in 1979 slyly ousted him from Czechoslovakia and revoked his citizenship. Kohout returned to his native country in 1990, by which time he had garnered a number of accolades and honours, including the Austrian State Prize for European Literature (1977). Since then, he has received the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art 1st Class (1998), the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2002), and other awards.