EU Prize for Literature winner Bianca Bellová in conversation with Casi Dylan

11 March 2024, 18:00-20:00, The Grove Tavern upstairs, 83 Hammersmith Grove, London W6 0NQ

Meet the award-winning Czech novelist Bianca Bellová, who will be in conversation with Casi Dylan in an event organised by Literature Across Frontiers in partnership with the European Union Prize for Literature on the occasion of the London Book Fair.

Bianca Bellová, a Czech author with Bulgarian roots, has published seven novels and one collection of short stories. Her most acclaimed novel Jezero (2016) won the prestigious national Magnesia Litera Book of the Year Prize and and the 2017 EU Prize for Literature, selling translation rights into twenty four languages. The English translation by Alex Zucker, published by Parthian Books, won the 2023 EBRD Literature Prize.

A dystopian page-turner about the coming of age of a young hero, set in a fishing village at the “end of the world”, on the shores of a lake that is drying up. Born into an unforgiving environment, Nami, a young boy, embarks on a journey with nothing but a bundle of nerves, a coat that was once his grandfather’s and the vague idea of searching for his mother, who disappeared from his life at a young age. To uncover the greatest mystery of his life, he must sail across and walk around the lake and finally dive to its bottom.

“The Lake’s location doesn’t quite correspond to anywhere on Earth, the geography as slippery as time itself. As the story progresses, The Lake feels less like it takes place in a post-USSR past than it does a post-apocalyptic future of complete climate collapse. Nami’s country might be fiction, but its implications are terrifyingly real.”

Glen James Brown, Wales Arts Review

“The Lake is a bewitching, beguiling, terrifying and shocking portal into a world gone wrong, a realm in which tenderness and courage come up against brutality and indifference, in which fellow-feeling and communality are undercut by self-interest and folly – and in which small gestures nonetheless keep the flame of hope alive. It is utterly propulsive, immersive and unique, and deserves to become a European classic, to be read by many generations to come.”

Toby Lichtig, EBRD Literature Prize

The event is supported by the EU Prize for Literature and Creative Wales.