“Rather than become embittered by his country’s past, Klíma has come to a truce with imperfection—the imperfection of history and of love.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“A Czech genius.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Hope, guilt, the search for true close human contact—these are the themes to which Klíma has been steadfast through a difficult lifetime.” —The New York Times


1931 (Sept. 14) Born in Prague. His father was a well-known specialist on massive electric machines, mother a secretary. Brother Jan born 6 years later.

1941-1945 The whole family, as Jews, interned in Nazi concentration camps.

1956 Graduated at the Philosophic Faculty of the Charles University, Prague.

1958-69 Editor in the publishing house, then editor (deputy in chief) of Literární noviny, the Czech prominent cultural weekly, one of the protagonists of the the Prague Spring.

1969-1970 Lecturing as a visiting professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

1970-1989 After comeback to Czechoslovakia deprived of his passport, fired from his work and banned to publish. His books removed from all shops and libraries. For short periods of time used to work in various unskilled professions, including an orderly, a messenger, a worker, and land surveyor.

1989 After the revolution elected the president of the Czech PEN (now the vice-president). Member of various cultural committees.

At present — Memberships: managing board of the Academy of Musical Arts, The Council of the State cultural fund of the Czech republic, editorial board of Literární noviny, electoral board of the Czech section of the “Greenpeace”.

The books and plays are translated into 29 languages.

English editions of Klíma’s works: (Only the first editions are mentioned.)

A Ship Named Hope, Gollanz, London 1970

My Merry Mornings, Readers International, London 1985

A Summer Affair, Chatto and Windus, London 1985, Penguin Books, London 1987

My first Loves, Chatto, London 1986, Penguin Books 1989, Harper and Row, New York 1989

Love and Garbage, Chatto, 1990, Penguin 1991, A. Knopf, New York 1991

Judge on Trial, Chatto, 1991, Vintage, London 1992, A. Knopf , New York 1993

My Golden Trades, Granta, London 1992, Penguin 1993, Scribner’s, New York 1994

Spirit of Prague, Granta, Penguin, 1994

Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light, Granta, London 1994, Grove Press New York 1995

The Ultimate Intimacy, Granta 1997, Grove Press, New York 1998

Lovers for a Day, Granta 1999, Grove Press, New York 1999

Between Security and Insecurity, Thames and Hudson, London, New York 1999

This is not a Fairy Tale — It Is Real, Jewish Museum, Prague, 2000

No saints or Angels, Granta 2001, Grove Press 2001

Also most of plays were translated into English, including: A Castle, The Master, The Games, Franz and Felice, Sweatshop Myriam, Bridegroom for Marcela, Klara and Two Men, and President and the Angel.

Since 1958 is married to Helena Klimova, psychotherapist, group analyst, publicist, and activist in the human rights organisations. Children: son Michal (a manager in the sphere of mass media) and daughter Hana (a painter).
Brother Jan is a senior lecturer of theoretical physics at the Charles University, the author of crime stories and translator from English to Czech.

From his childhood was picking the mushrooms in the forests. So slightly a specialist distinguishing about one hundred various species. Also from the age of eighteen used to play tennis (Not on the level of Ivan Lendl or John McEnroe.) Also has been collecting old prints and maps for many years, but stopped this activity because of a lack of space and time. Admirer of the Celtic folklore—so a small collection of CD and tapes.