Bohumil Hrabal

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Bohumil Hrabal was a Czechoslovakian writer. Born in 1914 in a suburb of Brno in what was then Austria-Hungary, he was soon to move to Nymburk and would later write much of his work in Líbeň on the outskirts of Prague, and in Kersko forest between Prague and Nymburk, where he and his wife Eliška or "Pipsi", owned a cottage from his first success in the liberal years of the 1960s. Hrabal began by writing poetry influenced by surrealism. He moved on to the prose works through which he achieved his fame both in Czechoslovakia and internationally. Hrabal may be thought of as a proletarian writer which, despite the political context in which he was writing, does not imply an adherence to social realism. Hrabal was banned by the authorities in Czechoslovakia from publishing from 1970 to 1975 and, though the end of this period accompanied an interview for the communist mouthpiece, Tvorba, though his work was edited, sometimes clumsily, and though indeed there were times he fell out of favour with the dissident movement and those connected with Charta 77 (in one incident they burned his books), it would be difficult to argue that he substantively compromised himself. Many of his books were written with a cut-up method consciously borrowed from film and indeed, many have been filmed. Film director Jiří Menzel, with whom he had a long-term working relationship, praised his style and humility.