Fischerová, Daniela 1948-

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FISCHEROVÁ, Daniela 1948-

PERSONAL: Born February 13, 1948, in Prague, Czechoslovakia; daughter of Jan F. Fischer (a composer) and wife (a translator); married; husband's surname Picnewová; children: one daughter. Education: Received degree from Filmova Akademie Muzickych Umeni, Czechoslovakia, 1971.

ADDRESSES: Home—Prague, Czechoslovakia. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Catbird Press, 16 Windsor Rd., North Haven, CT 06473.

CAREER: Author of stage plays, screenplays, radio plays, television plays, and short stories. Eeditor for Orbis; staff member at Prague Broadcasting; lecturer, Academy of Creative Writing, Czechoslovakia.

AWARDS, HONORS: International Festival in Calcutta, Best Script Award, 1983, for Neúplné zatmční; Czech and German Radio Writers' Competition, first prize, 1993, for Andčlský smích; European Broadcasting Union award, 1995, for Velká vterina.


Povídání s li ou (title means "Talking with a Fox"), 1978.

Hodina mezi psem a vlkem: Soudní pze Frantizka Villona (play; title means "The Hour between the Dog and the Wolf: Action of François Villon"; produced in Czechoslovakia, 1979), translated as Dog and Wolf (produced in London, England, 1993), Hern (London, England), 1984.

Neúplné zatmční (screenplay; title means "Partial Eclipse"), 1983.

Báj (play; title means "Myth"), 1987.

Princezna T (play; title means "Princess T"), 1988.

Náhlé neštčstí (title means "Sudden Misfortune"), 1993.

Andčlský smích (radio play; title means "Angelic Laughter"), 1993.

Fantomima (play; title means "Phantomime"), 1993.

Velká vterina (radio play; title means "A Great Second;" first broadcast 1995), Hynek (Prague, Czechoslovakia), 1997.

Prst, který se nikdy nedotkne (short stories), Hynek (Prague, Czechoslovakia), 1995, translation by Neil Bermel published as Fingers Pointing Somewhere Else, Catbird Press (North Haven, CT), 2000.

Prísudek je v této vete podmet, Petrov (Brno, Czechoslovakia), 1996.

Duhová jiskra (short stories; title means "The Rainbowed Sparkle"), Vysehrad (Prague, Czechoslovakia), 1998.

Jiskra ve senčhu (short stories; title means "The Sparkle in the Snow"), 1999.

Author of plays The Massage Table and The Lights Are Playing a Game. Contributing editor, Ecrivains tchèques sur la tolérance, Readers International (Prague, Czechoslovakia), 1994. Stories published in anthologies Daylight in Nightclub Inferno: Czech Fiction from the Post-Kundera Generation, edited by Elena Lappin, Catbird Press (North Haven, CT), 1997; and Allskin and Other Tales by Contemporary Czech Women, 1998; and translated in Chicago Review. Contributor of essays and articles to newspaper Lidove Noviny.

SIDELIGHTS: Daniela Fischerová is considered one of the best Czechoslovakian playwrights of the post-World War II generation—often called the post-Prague Spring generation—along with such authors as Václav Havel, Ivan Klíma, Milan Kundera, and Josef Škvorecký. She graduated from Prague's famous film school Filmova Akademie Muzickych Umeni (Film Academy of Muse Arts) just prior to the Russian invasion of her native country. Although her plays have been staged around the world to considerable acclaim and several have been published, her career as a writer has not been easy. Her first play, The Hour between the Dog and the Wolf, which she wrote at the age of thirty, created such an uproar that authorities banned it after its first dress rehearsal the night before it was scheduled to premiere in 1979. The theater revolted, however, by staging four performances, the last of which was shut down by police amid a great deal of tumult. Subsequently, Fischerová was banned from staging or publishing her work for eight years.

Dog and Wolf is a politically charged work based on the life of fifteenth-century French poet François Villon and his conflict with the Roman Catholic Church. In the play, the church is meant to represent the dominance of the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia; Villon represents all those suppressed and oppressed by the Party and, in particular, all artists, who were strictly censured. This era in Czechoslovakia's history was marked by zero tolerance of government criticism; artists had to find alternative ways to get their messages across to their audiences. Joe Sixta explained on the Lewis and Clark College Web site that when Dog and Wolf was to be staged at the college the director commented: "While the play is not easy to fully understand, its theatricality, the questions that it raises, and its fascinating history are well worth exploring." Sixta also noted that the play remains relevant decades after its composition.

Andree Collier pointed out in the Chicago Review that the author adopts a theme in her work that is common among Czech dramatic writers of her generation: that of the individual versus the system. "We all dealt with it in some manner," Fischerová told Collier. "Many of my plays are a manifestation of this idea." Following the ban placed on her work, Fischerová earned her living by writing in a "safe" genre—children's books—but secretly continued writing for adults. Several of her most popular works were created during this time, including Sudden Misfortune, Phantomime, and the prize-winning radio play A Great Second.

Fingers Pointing Somewhere Else was Fischerová's first collection of short fiction for adults. Comprised of seven short stories, the work was described by Tim Rogers in the Prague Post Online as "precisely told stories cut clean of any fat, but generously seasoned with elusive, well-measured layers of meaning. As a whole," commented Rogers, "the book delves into the nature of relationships—their mechanics, development and consequences. The result is both personal and universal. And very satisfying." Gabriel Sanders, writing in the New York Times Book Review, commented that the collection is "taut, intelligent … about confinement and the struggle to escape it." Amy Havel mentioned in Review of Contemporary Fiction that the stories are written with a heavily narrative tone, which sometimes gives them a little too much of an autobiographical feel. Havel concluded, "Fischerová's real talent lies in her amazing sense of description, especially regarding sensory impressions of her characters." In Library Journal, Eleanor J. Bader noted that the stories "ask profound existential questions in a rambling, stream-of-consciousness style" and called them "deeply moving."

When asked by interviewer Madelaine Hron for Central Europe Review Online about the source of her inspiration for the collection, Fischerová responded: "I don't have any secret sources of inspiration …, just an enduring, and by no means effortless, desire to write." During the interview, Fischerová remarked: "By the way, it is a great illusion that freedom is conducive to creativity and that censorship only destroys it. It just changes it. Some flowers bloom well in full light, others in the shade."



Chicago Review, Volume 46, issue 2, 2000, Daniela Fischerová and Andree Collier, "Far and Near: A Profile of Daniela Fischerová," p. 51.

Library Journal, January, 2000, Eleanor J. Bader, review of Fingers Pointing Somewhere Else, p. 164.

New York Times Book Review, October 22, 2000, Gabriel Sanders, review of Fingers Pointing Somewhere Else, p. 22.

Publishers Weekly, January 3, 2000, review of Fingers Pointing Somewhere Else, p. 58.

Review of Contemporary Fiction, fall, 2000, Amy Havel, review of Fingers Pointing Somewhere Else, p. 136.


Central Europe Review Online, (October 13, 2004), Madelaine Hron, "The Enduring Desire to Write" (interview).

Lewis & Clark College Web site, (October 13, 2004), Joe Sixta, Pioneer Log review of The Hour between the Dog and the Wolf.

Prague Post Online, (October 13, 2004), Tim Rogers, "Fischerova's Index of Flesh and Ink."

University of Toronto Web site, (October 13, 2004), Dragana Varagic, "Crossing the Bridge."*