I was mute, and suddenly I spoke
Olga Castiellová was born on 20 March 1936 in Prague. Her father, the writer Egon Hostovský left on a business trip to Belgium in February 1939; when Czechoslovakia was occupied by the Reich, his Jewish origin meant he couldn't risk coming back. He agreed on a divorce with his wife. Olga's mother moved with her three-year-old daughter to her parents in Opočno. Olga's grandfather Cyril Ondrák was arrested for his resistance activities and executed in Mauthausen concentration camp in September 1942. The family could not reunite after the war because Egon Hostovský had re-married in American exile. The witness and her mother moved to Prague. Olga graduated from the Vršovice grammar school in 1954 and applied to study Slavistics at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University while working as an interpreter. After completing her degree she received a job placement as a teacher in Nový Knín. At the same time she started writing for the literary magazines Plamen (The Flame) and later Tvář (The Face). Her father's emigration to the West caused her to receive a bad background assessment, making it difficult for her to get a job. She finally found a place as a copy editor at the State Publisher of Children's Books (later Albatros). In 1966 she married the Italian Gennaro Castiello, and in the early 1970s she legally emigrated from Czechoslovakia to Italy with her husband and two children. She returned to her homeland in 1980 and worked in an administrative position at Albatros. During the normalisation years she did translations in cooperation with the prohibited poet Josef Hiršál. In the freedom of the post-1989 period she devoted herself more to her own writing; among other things, she prepared and edited the collected works of Egon Hostovský (Spisy Egona Hostovského).