Date of birth : 1936-10-05
Date of death : 2011-12-18
Birthplace : Prague, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic)
Nationality : Czech
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2011-10-16
Václav Havel is a Czech playwright, essayist, poet, dissident and politician. He was the tenth and last President of Czechoslovakia (1989–92) and the first President of the Czech Republic (1993–2003).
Václav Havel was a playwright and political dissenter who became president of the Czech Republic after his country was freed from Soviet domination late in the 20th century. Havel's family was well-to-do enough that in communist Czechoslovakia he was not allowed to study the humanities in secondary school. Instead he studied at a technical school and worked as a lab technician. He also wrote plays and poems, and by the 1960s had a reputation in literary circles. His plays included The Garden Party (1963) and The Increased Difficulty of Concentration (1968). His outspoken critiques of the Communist government made it difficult for him to have his works published in Czechoslovakia, and he spent a total of nearly five years in and out of jail for his politics. In 1989 Havel emerged on the world stage as the leader of the democratic movement, and after the fall of communism he became the president of Czechoslovakia. Havel resigned in 1992 when it became clear that internal divisions were coming to a head, and in 1993 he was elected the first president of the newly-separate Czech Republic. He was re-elected in 1998 and served until February of 2003. Since then he has served as an elder statesman and international lecturer; he was an artist-in-residence at New York City's Columbia University in 2006.
After being elected as president of Czechoslovakia, Havel brought in American rock musician Frank Zappa and gave him a position in the ministry of culture.
He has written over twenty plays and numerous non-fiction works, translated internationally.
Hitchhiking (Autostop) 1960
An Evening with the Family, 1960, (Rodinný večer)
The Garden Party (Zahradní slavnost), 1963
The Memorandum, 1965, (Vyrozumění)
The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, 1968, (Ztížená možnost soustředění)
Butterfly on the Antenna, 1968, (Motýl na anténě)
Guardian Angel, 1968, (Strážný anděl)
Conspirators, 1971, (Spiklenci)
The Beggar's Opera, 1975, (Žebrácká opera)
Unveiling, 1975, (Vernisáž)
Audience, 1975, (Audience) - a Vanӗk play
Mountain Hotel 1976, (Horský hotel)
Protest, 1978, (Protest) - a Vanӗk play
Mistake, 1983, (Chyba) - a Vanӗk play
Largo desolato 1984, (Largo desolato)
Temptation, 1985, (Pokoušení)
Redevelopment, 1987, (Asanace)
Tomorrow, 1988, (Zítra to spustíme)
Leaving (Odcházení), 2007
Dozens of Cousins (Pět Tet), 2009 - a short sketch/sequel to Unveiling
The Pig, or Václav Havel's Hunt for a Pig (Prase), 2009 - based on a text from 1987, adapted by Valdímir Morávek in 2009
The Power of the Powerless (1985)
Living in Truth (1986)
Letters to Olga (Dopisy Olze) (1988)
Disturbing the Peace (1991)
Open Letters (1991)
Summer Meditations (1992/93)
Towards a Civil Society (Letní přemítání) (1994)
The Art of the Impossible (1998)
To the Castle and Back (2007)
View the full website biography of Vaclav Havel.