Slovak Euro Stars

With Balla and Ivana Dobrakovová

17 May, 7pm, Waterstones Piccadilly, more info and tickets

Balla, who goes only by his surname has a day job in the local council’s audit office in Nové Zámky, a provincial town in southern Slovakia. Since his first short story collection, Leptokaria (1996), he has published nine more books, mostly of short fiction, the latest being the novella Veľká láska (“The Great Love”, 2015). Balla’s works have been translated into Czech, German, English, Hungarian, Polish, Slovene and Serbian. His novella V mene otca (“In the Name of the Father”, 2012; Jantar Publishing, 2017) was voted Book of the Year by the Slovak daily SME in 2012 when it also won the Anasoft Litera Prize and the Tatrabanka Foundation Art Prize for literature.

Ivana Dobrakovová graduated from Bratislava’s Comenius University with a degree in English and French (translation and interpreting). She is based in Turin where she works as a freelance translator from French and Italian, currently working on Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels. She debuted in 2009 with her short story collection Prvá smrť v rodine (“The First Death in the Family”), followed by the novel Bellevue (2010). Her most recent collection of short stories Toxo appeared in 2013. She has won several literary competitions, including Poviedka 2008, and all three of her books have been shortlisted for the Anasoft Litera prize.


Into the Spotlight: New Writing from Slovakia

edited and translated by Magdalena Mullek and Julia Sherwood

published by Parthian Books (2017)

Into the Spotlight features the best of Slovak writing has to offer today. The sixteen authors presented here have all been shortlisted for, and many have won, some of the most prestigious Slovak and European literary awards. They represent the Slovak literary scene across the lines of gender, age, style and subject matter. Most importantly, all of them are living authors, engaging with today’s world and carrying on conversations with other contemporary writers and readers.


In the Name of the Father

by Balla

translated by Julia and Peter Sherwood

published by Jantar (2017)

“The Slovak Kafka”

Rosie Goldsmith, Journalist and Director of the European Literature Network

“Reading Balla is like getting on a roller coaster and behaving in an age-appropriate manner: you never know what’s coming, you scream and shout, now in fear, now in joy”

Gábor Németh, Hungarian author, critic

The narrator of Balla’s novella, a nameless retired worker in a hardware store, reflects on his life, looking for someone else to blame for his failed relationship with his parents and two sons, his serial adultery, the breakup of his marriage and his wife’s descent into madness. Against the backdrop of the stiflingly grey provincial lives that the narrator and his neighbours live, he is completely oblivious to “the thing” growing in the cellar of the house he and his brother have built.

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