JOSEF SKVORECKY (1924-2012)
This outstanding and prolific Czech writer was born in Nachod, Czechoslovakia and died in exile in Toronto, Canada. He started this literary career in his homeland but was forced to emigrate in 1968 because of his views. He and his wife Zdena Salivarova settled in Canada where they founded in 1971 a publishing house called 68 Publishers. Here they published their own works as well as those of writers banned in Czechoslovakia. Josef Skvorecky wrote 21 novels and numerous shorter stories, essays, scripts, etc. He also translated from other languages including Japanese and Chinese. He taught for many years in the Department of English at the University of Toronto.
For his enormous work and courage both as a writer and publisher he received many prizes- six honorary doctorates, the Order of the White Lion from Czech President Vaclav Havel in 2008, a similar prize from the Canadian Prime Minister Harper and also the prestigious Neustadt International Prize for Literature for which he was named by Graham Greene. In Canada he is considered to be a Canadian writer despite the fact that he has published mostly in Czech. Most of his novels are translated into English.
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