One of the boundless figures of late 20th century Czech literature, Bohumil Hrabal was a novelist, a drinker, a bon vivant, an avant gardist, a railway dispatcher during the Nazi occupation, a traveling salesman, a steelworker, a recycling mill worker, a stagehand… His novels, which include Too Loud a Solitude, Closely Observed Trains, and I Served the King of England, were censored under the Communist regime, yet have since been translated into nearly thirty languages. A survivor of both the Nazi and Soviet occupations of Czechoslovakia, much of Hrabal’s work juxtaposes the darkness of history to the comic, human-scale happenings of the every-day. His oeuvre is as inimitable as his novels are unforgettable.
Through a half-dozen brand new commissions from some of the most exciting UK based poets, artists, conceptualists, theatre makers and dramaturges, Hrabal will be evoked and enveloped, transposed into some of the most exciting literary experimentalists of contemporary London.
Featuring Zoe Skoulding (sound poetry), Sarah Kelly (book sculptures), Joshua Alexander (film art),Stephen Emmerson (conceptual performance), Marcus Slease (poetry), Tom Jenks (literary experiments), Eva Danickova (stage reading) and Lucinka Eisler (theatre), this is a chance to discover, or rediscover, a great European writer through new and exciting works that pay their debt to the remarkable achievements of Hrabal in the essence of their happening.
SJ Fowler is a poet, artist, curator & vanguardist. He works in the modernist and avant garde traditions, across poetry, fiction, sonic art, visual art, installation and performance. He has published six collections of poetry and been commissioned by the Tate, Reel Festivals, the Liverpool Biennial and the London Sinfonietta. He has been translated into 13 languages and performed at venues across the world, from Mexico city to Erbil, Iraq. He is the poetry editor of 3am magazine and is the curator of the Enemies project. He is presenting and co-curating Cabaret Hrabal.
Josh Alexander is a London based artist who makes experimental film and photography. In collaboration with artist Luke Montgomery, Josh’s work has featured in various exhibitions includingJoint Ventures organised by Space In Between in 2012. He made the music video for Drowned At Seaby Fairewell. Josh is part of A616, a collaboration with Erkembode, they are currently working on a series of moving image works. In May 2014 Josh had his first solo exhibition Light on Paper at the Hardy Tree Gallery, London. For the event, Josh Alexander will be presenting a visual interpretation of 'Handbook for the Apprentice Palaverer' in the form of a moving image piece.
Eva Daníčková works in London and internationally as a dramaturg, librettist and translator of plays and prose (A. Goldflam, M. Horoščák, Z. Svěrák). Eva studied dramaturgy at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She founded Boii Theatre in 2010, translating and producing Czech plays (The Green Room at the Etcetera Theatre, Boiled Heads at Tristan Bates Theatre and others). She wrote and produced two operas for the Tête à Tête Opera Festival at Riverside Studios in 2011 (The Moonflower) and 2012 (Insein). As a dramaturg, she has worked with Parrabbola, Patrick Dineen (The Golden Boy, Unity Theatre Liverpool) and on her own projects. Eva reads and translates Czech play scripts for the National Theatre and the Royal Court International Department.
Lucinka Eisler is Joint Artistic Director of Inspector Sands and has co-created all of their shows to date. For Inspector Sands she has performed in Hysteria or If That's All There Is. Other acting work includes The Magic Flute (Complicite at ENO / DNO) and Macbeth - The Abuse of Power (Contender Charlie/ China Plate). Directing credits include Rock Pool, Portrait of the Ordinary Festival Goer and A Life in 22 Minutes (all for Inspector Sands) and A Quiet Afternoon, (Stamping Ground Theatre for Riverside Studios/ BAC). As assistant director Lucinka has worked with Rufus Norris (National Theatre; Young Vic) and Theatre O (Barbican). Lucinka is a visiting lecturer at the Central School of Speech and Drama. Lucinka will perform a theatre scetch A Boring Afternoon from The Death of Mr Baltisberger.
Stephen Emmerson's publications include: 'A never ending poem...' (Zimzalla) 'Telegraphic Transcriptions' (Dept Press / Stranger Press), 'No Ideas but in Things' (Dark Windows Press), & 'Albion' (Like This Press). Installations / exhibitions include: Albion, The Dark Would, Visual Poetics at the South Bank Centre, Pharmacopoetics, Illuminations, and Placebo at Farringdon Factory. His work for the Hrabal celebration is an participatory installation centred around the concept of placebo and language control.
Tom Jenks has published five books of poetry, co-organises The Other Room reading series and website, and administers the avant objects imprint zimZalla. Building with the texts of Bohumil Hrabal, Tom will be presenting a brand new conceptual poetry project.
Sarah Kelly is an interdisciplinary text artist and poet, working predominately with hand made paper sculpture. She has published widely and is the author of 'locklines' (KFS Press). Performances and exhibitions include The London Poetry Festival, Saison Poetry Library and MACBA. For the event Sarah will be reworking the material book 'the Death of Mr.Baltisberger' into a collected series of integrated text sculptures.
Marcus Slease was born in Portadown, N. Ireland but moved to Las Vegas at age 11. Currently, he lives in London and teaches English as a foreign language. His latest book is Rides (Blart Books, 2014). For the event, Marcus Slease will be responding to Hrabal's Closely Watched Trains and Too Loud A Solitude
Zoë Skoulding is a poet, translator, editor and critic. She has published four collections of poetry, most recently The Museum of Disappearing Sounds (Seren, 2013). She is Senior Lecturer in the School of English at Bangor University. She will be presenting a sound-based response to Hrabal's 'Diamond Eye'.