After New York, Berlin and St. Petersburg, Amsterdam is the fourth foreign city where Petra Hůlová seeks inspiration and solitude. One of the topics of her current doctoral thesis in cultural studies involves the issue of Muslims in Europe and Amsterdam seems a suitable place to engage in reflection on the topic.
In a few years time Petra Hůlová (1979, Prague) became one of the most important contemporary authors in Czech literature. Her books are best sellers and are being translated into the major languages. It all began in 2002 with the publication of her novel Paměť mojí babičce which became one of the most widely-read Czech books of the decade. The novel was set in Mongolia, where Hůlová had previously lived as an exchange student for one year; she is fluent in the Mongolian language. Her debut marked a new trend in Czech literature. She was one of the first young writers who broadened her view and saw the outside world as a suitable stage for her stories. The reason she chose to set the novel in Mongolia was partly to avoid the necessity of writing about “artificial phenomena” such as career and media, by which she felt Mongolia had been less “polluted” than Europe.
After her debut, Petra Hůlová published three other novels: Přes matný sklo (Through Frosted Glass). Circus Les Mémoires and Umělohmotný třípokoj (Plastic-furnished, Three-bedroom), which was awarded with the Jiří Orten prize 2007. In all her work Hůlová shows to be a highly sensitive writer who has a great talent in portraying people. With her characteristic style of the ‘monologue intérieur’, she creeps under the skin of all kinds of protagonists, no matter what age, sex, occupation or nature they are.
In 2004 Uitgeverij Prometheus published a Dutch translation of Hůlová’s debut novel Paměť mojí babičce (Mijn grootmoeder). Edgar de Bruin was responsible for the translation.