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25 May 2013

Czech Writer Jáchym Topol at the Hay Festival of Literature & the Arts

Jáchym Topol will present his blackly comic award-winning novel The Devil´s Workshop at one of the most important literary events in the UK, the Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts. On Saturday 25 May he will also take part in a talk led by Jo Glanville together with Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng at Starlight Stage.

Transcript of Jachym Topol's conversation with Jo Glanville, the director of English PEN, can be found here


Jáchym Topol will present his award-winning novel The Devil’s Workshop, which tells the story of how a town in Belarus commemorates its concentration camp past.


Saturday 25 May 2013, 2.30pm
venue: Starlight Stage

Jáchym Topol will take part in a talk led by Jo Glanville together with Tan Twan Eng, the author of the sublime Man Asian Prize-winner and Booker-shortlisted The Garden Of Evening Mists exploring Japanese atrocity and beauty in Malaya in 1949. 

For 25 years Hay Festival has brought together writers from around the world to debate and share stories at its festival in the staggering beauty of the Welsh Borders. Hay celebrates great writing from poets and scientists, lyricists and comedians, novelists and environmentalists, and the power of great ideas to transform our way of thinking. We believe the exchange of views and meeting of minds that our festivals create inspire revelations personal, political and educational. Hay is, in Bill Clinton's phrase, 'The Woodstock of the mind'.

Hay Festival was founded around a kitchen table in 1987 and continues to attract the most exciting writers, filmmakers, comedians, politicians and musicians to inspire, delight and entertain. For 10 days in May, Hay is full of stories, ideas, laughter and music.



Jáchym Topol: Devil's Workshop











A young man grows up in a town with a sinister history. The concentration camp may have been liberated years ago but its walls still cast their long shadows and some of the inhabitants are quite determined not to allow anyone to forget. When the camp is marked for demolition, one of the survivors begins a campaign to preserve it. Bold, brilliant and blackly comic, The Devil’s Workshop paints a deeply troubling portrait of a country dealing with its ghosts and asks: at what point do we consign the past to history?

Translation Alex Zucker, Portobello Books, June 2013


Jáchym Topol (b.1962) is the leading Czech author of his generation. Famous in his youth as an underground poet and songwriter, since the Velvet Revolution he has written the books that have most successfully and imaginatively captured the dislocation brought about by the fall of communism. His novels include Gargling with Tar, which was published by Portobello in 2011, The Devil's Workshop (Portobello 2013) and Nightworks (Portobello 2014).

The Drill Hall 25 Lion Street, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford HR3 5AD

25 May 2013


Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event

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