Vaclav Pinkava (1926-1995)

Dr Václav J. K. Pinkava, alias Jan Křesadlo, was born on December 9, 1926 in Prague, and passed away on August 13, 1995 in Colchester, UK. He was a recognized novelist and poet, a psychologist and polymath. The SVU was fortunate having him as the president of its British Chapter.

An anti-communist, Pinkava emigrated to Britain with his wife and four children following the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. He worked as a clinical psychologist until his early retirement in 1982, when he turned to full-time writing.

Pinkava was also active in choral music, composing (among others) a Glagolitic Mass. As well, he worked in mathematical logic, discovering the many-valued logic algebra which bears his name.

As a polyglot, Pinkava was fond of setting intense goals for himself, such as translating Jaroslav Seifert’s interwoven sonnet cycle about Prague, A Wreath of Sonnets. He published a collection of his own poems in seven languages. Perhaps his most staggering achievement is ἈΣΤΡΟΝΑΥΤΙΛΊΑ (Astronautilia) Hvězdoplavba, a 6575-line science fiction epic poem, an odyssey in classical Homeric Greek, with its parallel hexameter translation into Czech.

He is survived by his wife Eva, and four children, Václav, Eva, Jan, and Pavel.