Sleeping Disorders

Radka Denemarková: Spací vady (2012, Czech Republic)Author: Radka Denemarková
Original title: Spací vady
Original language:
Number of pages: 214
Published by: Filip Tomáš - Akropolis
Release date: 2012
ISBN: 978-80-7470-006-4
Rights contact: Radka Denemarková

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A black comedy, involving Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath and Ivana T. in heaven discussing literature and what it means to be born a woman.

About the book

A black comedy written in Radka Denemarková’s trademark concise and innovative style, Sleeping Disorders has a grotesquely exaggerated premise: its protagonists, “with whom, following their deaths, no one and no thing knows what to do”, find themselves stuck in an intermediate stage between life and death. Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, and Ivana Trump, nicknamed Madam T., have spent their lives in writing. Now they prepare dishes from the pages of their books and wait for a voice to call their name, for someone living to truly miss them. The author allows her characters to speak the truth with no beating about the bush, caustically and frankly. They are thus forced to replay their own lives. What does it mean to be born a woman? To combine family with a career? To be a writer? To write serious literature? To lose a person one is close to? And last but not least, what drives a person to take their own life? The protagonists repeat the roles they knew in life, as wives, lovers, mothers, and writers. Their stories tell us something important about why we play these roles at all, and the price we must pay for every small measure of independence.

Tatjana Jamnik

From reviews

A clash of an early industrial social structure with the world of modern age ruled by money, business and technology of the 20th century. But the main line wrapping the three female writers indicates not only the contrast of time, but also the mutual psychological connections which have been (and unfortunately continuing being) a problem a woman – author is preoccupied with.

—Iveta Svobodová,


Here, you can be yourself. Free. The world does not judge you anymore.

About the author

Radka Denemarková | Photo by Petr Kopřiva

Radka Denemarková, born 1968, a Czech novelist, dramatist, screenwriter, essayist, translator of German literature, and creative writing teacher, is the only Czech writer who has received Magnesia Litera Prize four times (in different categories – for prose, non-fiction, translation and Book of the Year 2019).

She studied German and Czech philology at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, gaining her doctorate in 1997. She worked as a researcher at the Institute for Czech Literature of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and was dramatic advisor at the Divadlo Na zábradlí theatre in Prague. She has been freelance since 2004.

She is the author of a monograph about theatre and film director Evald Schorm Being My Own Enemy (1998), Remembering Milena Honzíková (2003; in: Dopis zmizelému / Letter to the One Who Disappeared) and is the editor of the anthology Zlatá šedesátá / The Golden Sixties (2000). Her debut work of fiction The Devil by the Nose was published in 2005, followed a year later by the novel Money from Hitler, winner of the prestigious Magnesia Litera Prize for the year’s best work of prose. The Polish edition of the latter work was nominated for the Angelus Prize (2009), while the German edition Ein herrlicher Flecken Erde (DVA 2011) won the Usedom Prize for Literature (2011) and Georg Dehio Prize (2012). For the monograph Death, Thou Shall Not Be Afraid: The Story of Petr Lébl (2008) she won a Magnesia Litera for the year’s best work of non-fiction. In 2010 the Divadlo Na zábradlí theatre produced her play Sleeping Disorders. For her rendering of Nobel Prize winner Herta Müller’s Atemschaukel (Czech title: Rozhoupaný dech), Radka Denemarková won the 2011 Magnesia Litera for translation of the year. Her double novel Kobold: An Abundance of Tenderness / An Abundance of People was published in 2011. In autumn 2014 she published a novel A Contribution to History of Joy. Her book US 2 (2014) was filmed (directed by Slobodanka Radun, premiered 2014). For her latest novel Hours of Lead (2018) Denemarková won the Magnesia Litera Prize in the category Book of the Year. In 2019, she was awarded a Swiss Spycher Literaturpreis Leuk for her novel A Contribution to the History of Joy.

Radka Denemarková’s works have been translated into 23 languages.

She lives in Prague with daughter Ester and son Jan.
Outstanding awards and distinctions

2007 – Magnesia Litera Prize for the best prose work of the year (Money from Hitler)
2009 – Magnesia Litera Prize for the best book in the category of non-fiction (Death, Thou Shall Not Be Afraid: the Story of Petr Lébl)
2011 – Usedom Literature Prize awarded by German literary critics (Money from Hitler)
2011 – Magnesia Litera Prize for the best translation of Herta Müller’s Atemschaukel (Rozhoupaný dech)
2012 – Annual Mladá fronta Publishing House Award for the translation of Herta Müller’s Herztier (Srdce bestie)
2012 – Georg Dehio Book Prize (Money from Hitler)
2016 – WALD Press AWARD
2017 – Graz City Writer 2017/2018, Austria
2019 – Literaturpreis Leuk, Switzerland (A Contribution to the History of Joy)
2019 – Magnesia Litera Prize Book of the Year (Hours of Lead)


The Devil by the Nose / A já pořád kdo to tluče (2005)
Money from Hitler / Peníze od Hitlera (2006)
Death, Thou Shall Not Be Afraid: The Story Of Petr Lébl / Smrt, nebudeš se báti aneb příběh Petra Lébla (2008), documentary novel
Kobold: An Abundance of Tenderness & An Abundance of People / Kobold: Přebytky něhy & Přebytky lidí (2011), double novel
A Contribution to the History of Joy / Příspěvek k dějinám radosti (2014)
US 2 / MY 2 (2014), literary original for the feature film
Hours of Lead / Hodiny z olova (2019)


Sleeping Disorders / Spací vady (2012), theatre play

Scientific monograph

An enemy to Himself / Sám sobě nepřítelem (1988), monograph

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