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Ivana Myšková

Ivana Myšková

Bereich: Literatur

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Jänner 2021 - Februar 2021

In 2007, Ivana Myšková debuted with her radio play Odpoledne s liliputem (Afternoon with a Lilliputian) and in 2012, she published her novella Nícení(Incitement), for which she was nominated for the Czech Book Award and Josef Škvorecký Award. In 2017, she published a collection of short stories entitled Bílá zvířata jsou velmi často hluchá (White Animals Are Very Often Deaf), in which she explores disgust and squeamishness with a scientific meticulousness and sarcasm. The book was nominated for Magnesia Litera Award and it was translated to Polish (Elzbieta Zimna, Wydawnictwo Dowody na Istnienie, 2018) and Slovene (Tatjana Jamnik, Polica Dubova, 2019).

Ivana Myšková has published many short stories in different Czech and foreign literary magazines, for example Host, Revolver Revue, Respekt, Souvislosti, Weles, Romano-Bohemica V (Romania), Manuskripte (Austria, translated by Doris Kouba), Ostragehege (Germany, translated by Doris Kouba), Opowiadanie (Poland), Artikulacije (Croatia) and for Ukrainian Anthology of the Contemporary Czech Short Stories. She has contributed to a book anthology of the short stories Město mezi zelenými kopci (The Town Between the Green Hills, Listen, 2018) and Rodinné příběhy (The Family Stories, Listen 2019) Now she is preparing the next short stories, the play for The National Theatre in Prague and the novel Otálení (The Delaying). 

She had received the literary residencies in Craców (International Visegrad Fund, 2013), Wannsee (Literarisches Collocquium Berlin, 2018), Broumov (České literární centrum, 2019) and finally in Ljubljana (Kulturno-umeniško društvo Police Dubove,2019).

She had readings at Conrad Festival in Craców, in Theater Brett in Vienna, at Authors’ Reading Month festival in Brno, Ostrava and Košice, at Literarisches Collocquium Berlin in Wannsee, at Festiwal Góry Literatury in Nowa Ruda and at Instytut Reportażu in Warsaw.

Since 2018 Ivana Myšková is the member of committee The Czech Writers Association (member organisation of European Writers’ Council).

Nowadays she is a freelancer. She records memories for the project Memory of Nations and cooperates with radio Vltava and prepares radio literary programmes – readings and radio documentaries, for example Mandala aktivismu (https://vltava.rozhlas.cz/mandala-aktivismu-vic-nez-dokumentarni-portret-sochare-a-neunavneho-aktivisty-8121452).

Foto: Marta Myšková


I would like to continue in writing novel with working title Otálení (The Delaying) which I started to weave at my literary residency of Literarisches Colloquium Berlin in Wannsee.

The novel Otálení will be narrated from the perspective of a young woman and her father. Both of them regret things and acts which they had ever promised but they had never finished. They are delaying first what they consider the most important.

The daughter postpones her self-realization and father his breakup with his wife. He missed a right moment when he could leave her. Now it is too late.

In these stories we can hear an echo of the tragedy of inhabitants of Pompeii and Herculaneum which had started to escape very late. The destiny of Pompeii is the analogy to our flourishing and pampered society that is refusing to restrain itself and to think about consequences.

Otálení will be partly an environmental novel about an approaching catastrophe that we are not able to avert because our prosperity comes first. The real threat is trivialized systematically.

The something similar is going on in the old apartment house near the arterial road where the daughter is living in a flat after her grandmother (her personal history will be an important part of the book too). The house desperately needs a complete reconstruction, especially reparation of plumbing. But the owners have not enough money for it because they didn’t expect any problems for many years. Finally, the cost for reconstruction will be covered by the huge advertisement over the all surface of façade. Since the time very disheartening dimness will come in many flats. And there is the danger of the pipe-bursting still. Partly a realistic and partly a symbolic novel about the uncompromising passing of time and people who are not capable of discussing and dealing with the true problems.


The residency in Vienna during the Covid-19 pandemic has one huge advantage – the author has no dilemma which gallery, museum, theatre, coffee bar etc. he should be visit… At the beginning of this year it was a relief for me. Social separation used to be useful and fruitful for my creative plans. I need silence, not speaking. I need to concentrate and immerse myself deeply inside my ideas for that reason my writing does not mean a lonely and sad work but rather a joyful ecstasy or permanent dialogue with my theme and characters in my mind.

At least for first fourteen days of my stay – I have to remind my residency started later than is typical, only since 20th January 2021 because of my working obligations – I had a lot of time mainly for my writing and thinking about it which is not easy in Prague where I live, especially during dramatic situation of the covid pandemic in the whole Czech Republic. When I was at home I read and listen many tragic stories of people infected with the Covid-19 dying in overcrowded hospitals and their relatives who may not visit them closely before their death. By force of these circumstances I could not be immersed in my novel. Until in Vienna! Naturally the remorse laid heavy on me because I left my relatives in danger and gave preference to my writing, besides, in such a beautiful city as Vienna is. It was very selfish of me because to stay in foreign country was unattainable for them during the lockdown. Finally in Vienna (after the window in my room was repaired and stopped to rumble) I could concentrate on my literary story. The text is as a parasite which is necessary to discharge from the body through the writing. In my Viennese apartment I pushed my novel Otálení (Delaying) about fifty pages written by hand furthermore. I managed to include a lot of my notes in the new chapters of my prose. Also I could articulate the main topic and different aspects of my story owing to an interview with Michaela Dermauw for webpages of Czech Centres and MQ.

When I am thinking about Vienna I have to think about the topic of the former glory of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The symbol of that for me means all of the complex of Museums Quartier and the empty back wing, former stables (today a place for dustbins for sorted waste), particularly. The video by fascinating artist Ingeborg Strobl which I saw at the exhibition in Mumok at the end of February, displayed walking horse through court and former stables in the back wing of MQ. But, as I suppose, the visual picture wasn’t as important as the sound of the video - persistent clatter of horse hooves. These days the horses are here only as statues in front of MQ and busts above entrances to the courts of MQ but the sound of clatter of hooves will always sound in my head as a symbol of former glory of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Finally I must admit that the environmental aspects of Strobl’s art are very close to my semifinished novel Delaying.

Thank dear Karin Cervenka, Esther Brandl and Elisabeth Hajek so much for these observations, also for experiences in Leopold Muzeum when I could reflect about the period of Musil’s Kakania, thank them for amazing long walks through almost empty Belveder park and first marks of spring in botanical garden there, for watching of fascinating collections of Egyptian, Greek, Italien, French and Dutch artworks in almost empty Kunsthistorisches Museum and incredible Aztec artefacts in Weltmuseum and also Hundertwasserhaus and his phenomenal Spittelau incinerator. Further I can’t forget the astonishing phantasm of Wiener Flaktürme and Leitturm in Arenbergpark and bizarre figures in the almost empty Prater.

But in spite of my extraordinary experiences from a few Viennese museums I must say with exaggeration that the opening of museums since 8th February was a real disaster for me. Even though I have been visiting exhibitions only for the last fourteen days I became a tourist immediately and I was avid for adventure in every museum which was closed previously.  My dilemma was here again.

On top of that in Vienna I gained a new obsession, in spite of very freezing weather, that is I started to photograph amateurishly the wrapped rose trees in Volksgarten which reminded me of refugees with rucksacks on their backs and primarily I started to photograph many Viennese empty fountains including the lavabo on the corridor on the opposite side of my apartment. Until today I learnt that my obsession is probably connected with one of the main topics of my novel Delaying – the lack of water in the city. Empty reservoirs and basins. Our near feature.

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