Michael Žantovský (Executive director)
Michael Žantovský is a diplomat, politician, writer, and translator. He studied psychology at Charles University in Prague and McGill University in Montreal, Canada and worked as a research psychologist. From 1980, Mr. Žantovský worked as a freelance translator and author. He has translated into Czech more than 50 works of contemporary English and American fiction, poetry, drama and nonfiction. He was a contributor to the samizdat press and the Prague correspondent for Reuters, the international news agency. In 1989 he was a founding member of the Czech chapter of P.E.N., the international organization of writers and translators that had been banned in Czechoslovakia during the Communist era. In November 1989 he was a founding member of the Civic Forum, an umbrella organization that coordinated the overthrow of the Communist regime, and became its press spokesman.
In January 1990 he became the Spokesman and Press Secretary for President Václav Havel. In July 1992 he was appointed Ambassador to the United States. In 1996 he was elected to the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic and served as the chairman of its Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Security. He served as the Czech Ambassador to Israel from 2003 till 2009. From 2009 till August 2015, he was the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Court of St. James’s. He is a regular contributor to World Affairs Journal and Aspen Review Central Europe. Since 2012, he has served as the President of Aspen Institute Prague. His biography of his longtime friend Václav Havel: A Life was published in English, Czech and several other languages in November 2014 to high acclaim. On September 1, 2015, Mr. Zantovsky became Executive Director of Václav Havel Library in Prague.
Pavel Hájek (Senior manager)
Pavel Hájek (1977) holds a PhD in cultural studies. He has experience in the field of sales and has worked as a marketing manager (State Opera Prague) and book designer (Malá Skála Publishing House). He is the author of works of fiction (“Kráska a Netvor”, “Měsíc v parku”) and of studies on the cultural and historical development of the Czech landscape (“Česká krajina a baroko”, “Jde pevně kupředu naše zem”). He is also one of the authors of the literary historical essay “Cavismus - membra disiecta 1917-1934”, the anthology “Krajina zevnitř” and the book “Krajina a revoluce”. Contact: email@example.com
Lucie Prachařová (Office manager)
Lucie Prachařová (1955) graduated from the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport. She studied teaching in combination with the Czech language and physical education. She worked at the department of physical education at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, then at the department of youth and sports of the Central Bohemia regional authority, where she was responsible for organising school competitions in the region. At the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, she was active in the area of socially pathological phenomena and prevention in schools. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jáchym Topol (Program director)
Jáchym Topol (1962), writer and journalist. A signatory of Charter 77, he worked in various labouring jobs. He has published in periodicals such as Revolver revue, Respekt, and Lidové noviny, and is known for novels such as “Sister”, “Gargling with Tar” and “Cold Land”. Contact: email@example.com
Veronika Brázdilová (Program coordinator)
After graduating from a bilingual high school in Brno, Veronika Brázdilová (1986) studied at the French university Sciences Po Paris (Paris Institute of Political Studies). Following two years in Dijon and an Erasmus exchange year in Brussels, she acquired a master’s degree in Paris, specialised in communications. She later became a trainee at the European Commission’s Directorate-General Communication in Brussels, before working at a Belgian communications agency managing the official website of the European Union as an editor and project manager. In November 2011, she returned to the Czech Republic after six years of living abroad and for a year worked as a coordinator of the 13 information centres on the EU at the Representation of the European Commission in Prague.
Radka Prošková (Program coordinator)
Radka Prošková studied musical science and arts management. She has worked as coordinator of various projects for the NGOs People in Need and Opona, the Arts Institute, Palace Akropolis and other organisations. She was a member of the electoral team of Karel Schwarzenberg during the 2013 presidential elections. She has also been involved in the organisation and dramaturgy of many concerts, exhibitions, happenings and festivals.
Barbora Grečnerová (Education)
Barbora Grečnerová graduated from the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague. She has published several translations from Norwegian and writes reviews on contemporary Scandinavian literature. She has professional experience in management of international educational programmes financed by EU and Norway Grants.
Martin Vidlák (Head of the Documentation Centre)
Martin Vidlák graduated from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Czech Technical University. From 1991 to 2003 he worked in the monitoring and documentation department of the press section of the Office of the President and from 2003 to 2011 he worked with Václav Havel at his private office. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tereza Johanidesová (Librarian)
Tereza Johanidesová (1988) currently studies History of Art and Information Studies and Library Studies at the Arts Faculty of Charles University. She has worked at the Galerie Kinský at the New Chateau in Kostelec nad Orlicí, cooperated on the bibliography of the Topičův Salon 1918 – 1936, and helped organise regional cultural events in Eastern Bohemia (e.g., the Poláčkovo léto and Dividílkování theatre festivals). Contact: email@example.com
Anna Freimanová (Editor)
Anna Freimanová (1951) is a librarian by profession. In the 1970s she was an assistant director at the Divadle Na zábradlí theatre, before working as a librarian in the theatre department of the National Museum and at the Municipal Library. She was involved in samizdat publishing, principally with the theatre magazine O divadle. In 1990 – 2003, she served at the President’s Office as Václav Havel’s secretary for literary and theatrical matters. During that period she edited most of the publications of his work in Czech. In the 1990s she co-founded the Aura-Pont theatrical and literary agency and the Foundation Fund of the Alfréd Radok Awards. Between 2004 and 2011 she headed Czech Television’s print division. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ondřej Němec (Photographer and editor)
Ondřej Němec (1960) began taking photographs in his 20s, though for political reasons he was not able to study in that field. He apprenticed at a printing works before finding a job as a stagehand and later as a stoker. In 1990, he joined the daily Lidové noviny as a photo reporter and worked there for 22 years. Prior to 1989, his photographs had only been published in samizdat or abroad, often anonymously. He does not take part in competitions and does not like to exhibit. Nevertheless, he received the Revolver Revue Prize for 2012.
Jan Hron (VHL Archive IT support)
Jan Hron graduated from the department of Bohemian Studies and Comparative Literature, Charles University, Prague with a thesis entitled The Correspondence of Vaclav Havel. First he worked as a lector of youth events and workshops in the Czech Philharmonic. Until 2008 he was active as journalist in Czech Radio, the internet daily Aktualne.cz and Literary Newspaper. Currently he writes occasional reviews and essays for Respekt, a Czech independent political weekly publication. He is a founder of the Ladislav Hejdánek Archive, NGO which carries out the legacy of the leading Czech philosopher and spokesperson of Charta 77. From autumn 2008 to June 2015 Jan Hron worked for The Václav Havel Library. Since July 2015 he has been working as IT specialist at The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes.
Erika Zlamalová (Member of the VHL´s editorial board)
Erika Zlamalová (1985) graduated from the Institute of Czech Studies at the Silesian University in Opava. She contributes to the magazines Týden and In magazín HN and since 2008 has been working for the Prague Writers’ Festival. As an editor she helps shape the Literární.cz and Portálu české literatury websites. Since 2011 she has been a member of the Václav Havel Library’s editorial board, where she serves as a language editor as well as helping prepare and implement its programme.
A Word about Words – samizdat essay
„The point I am trying to make is that words are a mysterious, ambiguous, ambivalent and perfidious phenomenon. They can be rays of light in a realm of darkness, as Belinsky once described Ostrovsky’s Storm. They can also be lethal arrows. Worst or all, at times they can be one or the other. They can even be both at once!“
A Word about Words – samizdat essay, July 25, 1989