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Josef Škvorecký is a Czech émigré, he grew up under two dictatorships, was involved in the underground of 1950s Prague, and published fiction which was later, for political reasons, seized by Czech authorities. After the Prague Spring of 1968, Skvorecky came to Canada and taught at the University of Toronto. He continued to publish novels including the 1982 Governor General’s Award-winning novel The Engineer of Human Souls. He also, along with his wife, Zdena Salivarová, founded 68 Publishers, which brought books by writers such as Vaclav Havel, Milan Kundera, and Bohumil Hrabal into print for the Czech community in the western world. He died on January 12, 2012.

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