Writer, journalist, author of children’s books, translator and Hispanic expert, she has twice been nominated for the Josef Škvorecký Award and for the Magnesia Litera, her books have been translated into German, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and into the other six languages. She was born in Kroměříž on 1 February 1973.
She studied Latin, Romance studies and history at Palacký University’s Faculty of Arts in Olomouc, where she subsequently worked as a lecturer. She was in charge of the foreign section of the weekly magazine Respekt. She alternates between living in the Czech Republic and in South America (Argentina, Brazil), where she teaches Czech to the descendants of Czech emigrants.
Her debut novel Žluté oči vedou domů (The Yellow Eyes Will Lead You Home) was published in 2007 by Torst, and is the story of four women and one man, who alternate as narrators. At a central stage in the women’s lives appears the charismatic Jaromír, who will leave an indelible mark on their lives. Here the setting is Pilatová’s community of Brazilian emigrants – the parents have cut off their roots, but due to the fall of communism their children have the possibility to choose the direction of their lives. Two years later Torst published Pílatová’s Má nejmilejší kniha (My Most Beloved Book). Once again this extensive saga combines narrative voices, but this is augmented by its construction: we hear the the views of the tattooist and Hare the snake, which lends a magical feel to this Argentinian setting filled with drug lords, snake venom, slums and jungles. Markéta Pilátová was nominated for the Magnesia Litera and the Josef Škvorecký Award for both of these books.
Five years later Pilátová wrote her third novel for adults, Tsunami Blues, again published by Torst. It takes place alternately in the Czech Republic, in Thailand during a tsunami and in Cuba. “The dirty sound from the trumpet is not down to the embouchure, or the tone, or the colour, nothing like that. You only get dirty from great things. From the blue Cuban sky and your own fear,” says one of the main characters. There is a central trio – the trumpeter Karla, her music teacher and Professor Jenůfa Topinková.
As well as prose, Pilátová has also written poetry, Zatýkání větru (Capturing the Wind, Větrné mlýny, 2011), and children’s stories. She received acclaim for Víla Vivivíla a stíny zvířat (Víla Vivivíla and the Animal Shadows, NLN, 2009), Kiko a tajemství papírového motýla (Kiko and the Secret of the Paper Butterfly, NLN, 2010) and Gorilí táta (The Gorilla’s Dad, Novela Bohemica, 2013). She is also the author of the children’s stories Jura a lama (Jura and Lama, LePress, 2012) about a boy who has two mothers. She writes for several national periodicals including Salon Právo, Respekt, Lidové noviny and Czech Radio. She also translates from Spanish and Portuguese.
In Vienna, during my residency in Q21, I finished the children's book Grandma Mushroom and came up with the plot of the new novel The Nests. I could also often stay in the library in Q21 and do researches about the Viennese gardens where part of the future novel takes place. I could admire their structure, flowers and trees in those gardens. Thanks to my stay Vienna itself became one of the key heroines of my new book. This would never have happened if I had not had a chance to spend the summer in Vienna. It is not enough to say thanks, my future book will be a real thank you.