- For the organist with the same name, see Pavel Kohout.
Pavel Kohout (born July 20, 1928 in Prague) is a Czech and Austrian novelist, playwright, and poet. He was a member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, a Prague Spring exponent and dissident in the 1970s until he was expelled to Austria. He was a founding member of the Charter 77 movement.
Because he and other dissident theater workers had been banned from working in the official theater, he formed the company Living-Room Theater with the actors Pavel Landovský, Vlasta Chramostová, Vlastimil Třešňák, and his daughter, Tereza Boučková to covertly perform an adaptation of William Shakespeare's Macbeth in living rooms in Prague. Czech-born UK playwright Tom Stoppard's Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot's Macbeth is inspired by these events.
His novels include White Book (an absurdist picture of life under Communism), I Am Snowing (a post-Communism story about the opening of the Communist-era secret police informer files, the effect of that opening on the informers and their victims, and thus about the corrosive effect of the Communist regime), The Widow Killer (a detective story set in World War II Nazi-occupied Prague), and The Hangwoman (a black-humor story about executioners).
Decorations and awards
- 1969 Franz Theodor Csokor Award
- 1977 Austrian State Prize for European Literature
- 1997 Das Glas der Vernunft (The Glass of Reason) (Kassel Citizenship Award)
- 1999 Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, 1st class
- 2002 Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
- 2004 Honorary Medal of the Austrian capital Vienna in gold