Jan Drda

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Plaque for Jan Drda in New Town, Prague

Jan Drda (April 4, 1915, Příbram – November 28, 1970, Dobříš) was a Czech journalist, politician, playwright, screenwriter and author of modern fairytales. He was the Czech State Prize Laureate in 1949 and 1953, and was a nominated again for the same prize in 1965.[1]

Life[edit]

Jan Drda was born April 4, 1915 in Příbram and was the son of a laborer and organizational founder.[citation needed] His parents divorced and his father became an alcoholic and abandoned his children.[citation needed] In 1921, Drda's mother died during the birth of his second sibling.[clarification needed][citation needed] Drda and his sister, Marie, were educated by their grandfather. In 1934, Drda graduated from Charles University in Prague with a degree in philosophy.[citation needed]

From a young age, Drda wrote stories and dramatic plays for Ochotnické divadlo (cs), and he began contributing to newspapers and magazines from 1932. Between 1937 and 1942, Drda was the editor of Lidové noviny (People's News) to which he contributed feuilletons (English: serials) and reporting.[citation needed]

Drda had been a Communist Party sympathizer since before the Second World War, and supported the blacklisting of some writers who were against Communism.[2] He became a member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in 1945. After February 1948, he held various cultural and political offices, was part of several foreign delegations, including to South America, and was elected to the National Assembly, representing the Prague district, where he remained a member until 1960.[3] In 1955, he received the Order of the Republic. From 1949 to 1956, he was Chairman of the communist-controlled Union of Czechoslovak Writers. Jan Drda and Václav Řezáč (cs), known by the derisive nickname "Drzáč", were against Catholic authors, such as Jakub Deml, Jan Zahradníček, Václav Renč and Bohuslav Reynek.[citation needed]

Drda contributed to many Czechoslovak films, as both a screenwriter and story author. He is credited as a writer on more than 20 films.[4] His screenplay for the 1960 film Higher Principle (Czech: Vyšší princip), based on one of his short stories in Silent Barricade (Czech: Němá barikáda), was awarded the FIPRESCI Prize by the International Federation of Film Critics at the Locarno Festival in Switzerland.[5]

In the final years of his life, Drda was the editor-in-chief of Svět práce (English: The World of Work), which he founded in 1968.[6] Drda fell out of favour after condemning the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia and the subsequent occupation, and was expelled from the Communist Party.[7] He died on November 28, 1970 in Dobříš and was buried at a local cemetery. His funeral was attended by about two thousand people.

Works[edit]

Prose[edit]

  • Městečko na dlani (1940) – depicting the life of people from a small city named Rukapáň (based on the author's home city of Příbram), shortly before World War I.
  • Živá voda (1942) – a novel about the life of a rural boy, set in the post-war years.
  • Putování Petra Sedmilháře (1943) – a novel about an orphan searching for his unknown father.
  • Svět viděný zpomaloučka (1943) – book edition of the committee from his work for Lidové noviny.
  • Listy z Norimberka (1946) – a collection of feuilletons about the Nuremberg trials.
  • Silent Barricade (cs) (Czech: Němá barikáda, 1946) – 14 short stories about Second World War (including Prague uprising and Liberation), first prose account of the Second World War in literature.
  • Kuřák dýmky (1948)
  • Krásná Tortiz (1952) – a collection of short stories, winner of the state prize for 1953.[8]
  • Dětství soudruha Stalina (1953) – a biographical account of Joseph Stalin's life until the age of 16.
  • Jednou v Máji (1958) – a youth novel about the defence of the Troja Bridge during the May Uprising.
  • České pohádky (cs) (1959) – 12 folk tales with illustrations by Josef Lada
  • Posvícení v Tramtárii (1972) – three fairy tales, published posthumously as Drda's last work.
  • České lidové hádanky v podání Jana Drdy: pro čtenáře od 6 let (1984)
  • Nedaleko Rukapáně (1989) – a collection of the author's short stories, published posthumously.
  • Milostenky nemilostivé (1995) – a collection of essays written between 1939 and 1940.

Drama[edit]

Scripts and story-writing for film[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Malá československá encyklopedie, Svazek 2., D–CH, 1st edition. Praha: Academia. 1985. pp. 969 str. [Heslo „Jan Drda" je na str. 182.] 
  2. ^ "FEBRUARY 1948: Commander Drda alternates with Ferdinand Peroutka". Retrieved August 15, 2017. 
  3. ^ jmenný rejstřík [online], [cit. 2012-01-15]. "Poslanecká sněmovna Parlamentu České republiky". 
  4. ^ "Jan Drda Filmography". 
  5. ^ "FIPRESCI Festival Reports". Retrieved August 15, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Library of the ASCR". Retrieved August 15, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Jan Drda". Retrieved August 15, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Seznam laureátů literárních cen na webu Ústavu pro českou literaturu AV ČR".