Kateřina Tučková, leading Czech writer and 2022 winner of The State Award for Literature, discusses with scholar Dr Rajendra Chitnis The Last Goddess, her award-winning novel and most successful book to date with more than 100,000 copies sold in the Czech Republic alone, which has finally been published in English. Based on extensive historical research and powerful storytelling, the novel traces a community of ‘goddesses‘, female healers in the White Carpathians, pursued by both Nazis and Communists. Masterfully weaving together fact, folklore, and fiction and oscillating between past and present while exploring the extraordinary history of goddesses, Tučková incisively and with great panache comments on Czech society throughout the 20th century.
A book launch and conversation with Katerina Tučková and Dr Rajendra Chitnis
is a leading Czech writer, playwright, art historian and curator. She has written four books published in twenty two languages. More than 300,000 copies of her books have been sold in the Czech Republic alone. Her novel Gerta / Vyhnání Gerty Schnirch
won the Magnesia Litera Readers’ award and was shortlisted for the Jiří Orten Prize and the Josef Škvorecký Prize in 2010. The Last Goddess / Žítkovské bohyně
won the Josef Škvorecký Award and the Czech Bestseller Prize in 2012 and the Magnesia Litera Readers‘ Award and the Czech Book Prize Readers‘ Award in 2013. In 2017, she was given the Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights Award by the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes
and received the Premio Salerno Libro d’Europa. In 2022 Katerina Tučkova was awarded The State Prize for Literature for the novel Bílá Voda (The White Water). www.katerina-tuckova.cz
is associate professor of Czech at the University of Oxford. Alongside the books Literature in Post-Communist Russia and Eastern Europe
, Vladislav Vančura: The Heart of the Czech Avant-garde
and the edited volume Translating the Literatures of Small European Nations
, he has published numerous studies about twentieth- and twenty-first-century Czech literature and contributed afterwords to English translations of novels by Antonín Bajaja, Jaroslav Durych, Viktor Dyk, Ladislav Fuks, Daniela Hodrová, Josef Jedlička and others.
Kateřina Tučková: The Last Goddess
Translated by Andrew Oakland
Published by Amazon Crossing, 2022
The book has been adapted for the stage by the Zlín City Theatre, the Brno City Theatre, and the Divadlo pod Palmovkou Theatre
Translated into twenty languages
Once upon a time, a group of women with extraordinary abilities lived high in the hills of the White Carpathians. They knew how to heal people and help them in misery, they knew how to cope with trouble, and they could see the future. The so-called Žítková goddesses
passed down their abilities from generation to generation. Dora Idesová is the last member of their family. She did not learn their art, but studied ethnography and decided to write an extensive scientific study about them. In the late 1990s, she discovered an operative file on an “internal enemy of the state” – her aunt, goddess Surmena. The file was created by the StB (the State Security), and kept in the archives of the Ministry of the Interior. Dora discovers the fate of the women from the village of Žítková and is surprised to find out that although she did not become a goddess herself, she is also an integral part of the secret traditions.