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THE BIBLIO FILE is a podcast about "the book," and an inquiry into the wider world of book culture. Hosted by Nigel Beale it features wide ranging, long-form conversations with best practitioners inside the book trade and out - from writer to reader. Why listen? The hope is that it will help you to read, write, publish, edit, design, and collect better, and improve how you communicate serious, big, necessary, new, good ideas and stories...

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Sep 12, 2022

Michael Žantovský is a Czech diplomat, author and translator. He is a former Czech Ambassador to the United Kingdom, as well as to Israel and the United States. He has translated more than fifty works of fiction, drama and poetry, mostly by contemporary American and British writers including James Baldwin, Norman Mailer, Joseph Heller, E.L. Doctorow, and Tom Stoppard. Non-fiction translations include works by Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright. He is currently the Executive Director of the Václav Havel Library. 
We met in his office at the Library in Prague to talk about, among other things, his book Havel: A Life, published in 2014; about writing the biography of a close friend; about dealing with death, grief and indebtedness; about the clinical attitude; writing as a process of selection; hagiography; coming across honestly; guilt about wealth; responsibility and trust; Václav Havel's play sticking our noses into misery; hope and hopelessness; outsiders; Woody Allen; and the inner need to say something.