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PhDr. Zdeněk Slabý (1930) - Biography

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Our names were to be forgotten during normalisation

Zdeněk Slabý was born on June 9, 1930, in Prague into a well-to-do family. He joined the boy scout organisation and in 1944 he got in touch with Jaroslav Foglar who accepted him into Prague’s Dvojka unit. Even as a child he was strongly interested in music and literature. After the war he started contributing to Foglar’s journal Junák, writing mainly reviews, and he then continued in the journal Vpřed. On secondary school graduation in 1949 he went to the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, where he read Czech and Russian literature and literary history. He established Divadlo poezie (Theatre of Poetry), which gathered young poets who defined themselves against communist authors. He was to be sent to labour in the mines because of his criticism of the communist poet Ivan Skála, but his teacher spoke in his favour and the forced labour punishment was avoided. He kept refusing entering the Party and thus did not expect he would be able to make a career in the academy. In the late 1950s he accepted the position of an editor in Zlatý máj publishing house, which focused on children’s literature. He himself started writing for children. He has written over thirty books, known all over the world. In 1968 he joined the Communist Party in the hope that he would be able to contribute to the democratisation of the society. During checks in 1970, however, he was expelled from the party, professionally degraded and banned from publishing for the next twenty years. At that time he turned to music. He built a vast archive of musical recordings and texts on jazzy and alternative music from all over the world. Eventually he used his knowledge in three books, the first of which was published – despite the ban – as early as the 1980s in Albatros publishing house.

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