UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


RAISING THE VELVET CURTAIN: Slovak literature since 1989

05 November 2019, 9:30 am–5:30 pm


This event is free.

Event Information

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G6 Lecture Theatre
Institute of Archaeology
Gordon Square, 31-34

Co-organised with the Centre for the Study of Central Europe, UCL SSEES and the Institute of Slovak Literature of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, this one-day conference, open to the public, aims to introduce the reading public as well as publishers, journalists, translators, students and scholars of Central European and Slovak history and politics to the latest developments on the Slovak literary scene.


9:30    Registration            

9:45    Welcome:                Professor Diane P. Koenker, UCL SSEES Director

Opening remarks:    His Excellency Ľubomír Rehák, Slovak Ambassador to the UK

Keynote address:    Peter Zusi

Introduction:            Julia Sherwood

10:00-11:30   Panel 1 - The Slovak Social and Literary Landscape After 1989

  • Karen Henderson: Social and political development after 1989: was the Slovak transition unique?
  • Ivana Taranenková: Stories of “time out of joint”: Slovak literature after 1989
  • Radoslav Passia: Literary life in Slovakia after 1989

Chair: Thomas Lorman

11:30-11:45   Coffee Break

Book display: Slovak literature since 1989 in the UCL SSEES Library

(Zuzana Pinčíková, SSEES library)

11:45-13:15  Panel 2 - After the ‘End of History’

  • Dagmar Kročanová: Modern Slovak history on the stage after 1989
  • Peter Darovec: Revolution in literature, literature in revolution (The case of Peter Pišťanek)
  • Tim Beasley-Murray: Jana Juráňová, the Tomcat, and the Right to Write
  • Charles Sabatos: Contemporary Transnational Slovak Women's Writing

Chair: Peter Zusi

13.15-14.15.  Lunch break       

14.15-15.45   Panel 3 - Literary life in Slovakia

  • Ján Gavura: The Role of small publishing houses in post-communist Slovakia
  • Rajendra Chitnis: Comparing Czech and Slovak literature in English translation and its role in shaping Slovak identity
  • Ivana Hostová: Slovak Poetry in English translation after the Velvet Revolution: can it ever be commercially successful (but should it even try)? 

Chair: Tim Beasley-Murray

15.45-16.00   Coffee break

Book display: Slovak literature since 1989 in the UCL SSEES Library

(Zuzana Pinčíková, SSEES library)

16.00 -17.30   Panel 4 - Putting Slovak literature on the Anglophone map

  • Julia Sherwood:  Challenges of popularising Slovak literature in the anglophone world
  • Susan Curtis: Challenges of publishing translated literature in the UK
  • Katarina Gephardt –A planned Companion to Contemporary Slovak Literature
  • Pitches – brief recommendations of books that should be translated into English

Chair: David Short

17:30  Drinks reception hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of Slovakia

          Masaryk Room, School of Slavonic and East European Studies,

16 Taviton Street, WC1H 0BW

Leading specialists from Slovakia, the UK and US will present a survey of the Slovak social and literary landscape and social developments over the past 30 years and major literary trends. Four panels will explore how recent Slovak history and social transformation after 1989 has been reflected in literature, also in the context of neighbouring post-communist countries.  Panellists will introduce the vibrant contemporary literary scene in Slovakia and discuss the best ways of putting Slovak literature on the Anglophone map and make recommendations for books that should be translated into English and why. 

View the full Programme: