The Bone Church: Live reading and conversation with Victoria Dougherty

It was a good day, the day I came across a cold war essay written by the remarkable writer/author/dramatist Victoria Dougherty. It was titled "Stepping on the Throat of His Own Song" (VictoriaDoughertyWordpress). I sat and read the entire essay, and then wished it was longer. I scoured her website for more, and learned that Dougherty has been at the art of storytelling for some time (20 years) penning tales that have graced the pages of The New York Times, USA Today, the International Herald Tribune, and more. Currently living in Charlottesville, VA, she has also spent many years in Prague, Czechoslovakia where her stories originate. Her love of, and familiarity with, the old Eastern European city is obvious when you read her incredible novel, The Bone Church.

1950s Prague
Color me happy when I read it was coming out, and then it was a good idea not to bother me as I sat and read it. As a writer, also, there is no better pastime in the world than reading great writing from another. Needless to say, I was pulled into another time in another place where the lives of Jews hung in a precarious balance, and beneath the surface of a Nazi war campaign, intrigue took center stage as factions sought advantages; some for wealth, some for glory, and others, escape from persecution and death. Families were ripped apart, and the future was uncertain for millions of Jewish faithful.

So what could be better than reading The Bone Church yourself? Having the author read an excerpt live! Even more exciting, the reading will take place in a bookstore in Prague! On October 6th, Victoria Dougherty invites you to the Globe Bookstore and Cafe located at Pštrossova 6, Praha 1, Prague, Czech Republic promptly at 7 p.m. 

I had a few questions for my new, favorite cold war author, and Ms. Dougherty kindly shared her answers.
First, I want to thank you, Michele, for having me on. I love getting the chance to talk to other readers and writers almost as much as I love writing…and that’s saying a lot.
When you’re in Prague, do you see your characters around every corner? Felix and Magdalena? What about Srut? I have a long history with Prague. My mother and brother were born there, and I lived there for nearly four years in the 1990s. I guess it’s fair to say that I get a bit of sensory overload when I’m there. Do I see my characters there? I guess the short answer is yes, but they coexist with memories from my time there and the stories I heard around my dinner table growing up. My family story was a two-hanky drama: heroes and villains, cowards, redeemers and the redeemed, those who were beyond hope, and those who pulled victory from a hat just as it looked like it was all over for them. There were ghosts, there were priests, and there were spies. Beautiful women and dashing men. Achingly beautiful love stories and wretched marriages. Drinking and smoking and storytelling – lots of storytelling. So, when I’m in
Prague, I may see my grandmother walking out of the Magistrate on Old Town Square on her wedding day. Or my mother walking home from the market being followed by a secret policeman. I may also see Srut in the shadows, looking for an easy mark, Felix in better days coming home from a hockey game. My own memories might include a favorite haunt, like the 400 year-old, fire-lit pub where I met my husband.

Describe your thoughts about sharing a reading with fans in the cozy confines of The Globe Bookstore and Café in Prague? I’m nervous and I’m excited. Mostly because my twelve year-old son will be traveling with me and I want this to be a trip he never forgets. But my reading will also be filled with friends and family members as well as people unknown to me who’ve read my book. Now that I think about it, that’s pretty daunting. I’ve yet to choose a passage to read – got any ideas?
Prague swans by Mark Baker
 Have you done these before? I’ve done a fair amount of public speaking and I used to act in plays, so I’m accustomed to standing in front of a crowd. However, this is my first reading from my novel. It means a lot to me that it’s going to be in Prague. I’m still in a state of disbelief, actually.

Prague at night
What Cold War tale/novel do you have planned next? My next book is called The Hungarian and I’m in edits right now. An adventure, a spy-thriller and a love story, The Hungarian examines the intersection of three lives – a drifting ex-pat, a fugitive Russian diplomat, and a Hungarian assassin with a weakness for rich food and sadistic murder. It’s got Sputnik, murder by salt poisoning, a Russian mystic, and a great roll in the hay inside an old, abandoned chapel, what more could you want?

What more, indeed! Okay, now I'm very excited. Are you? If you're planning on being in Prague October 6th, check out The Globe Bookstore and Cafe, and sip a hot cup of coffee while being transported back in time to a moment in history where hope was in short supply, but love, and the will to survive, conquered all.

Victoria Dougherty bio:
Victoria Dougherty writes fiction, drama, and essays that often revolve around spies, killers, curses and destinies. Her work has been published or profiled in The New York Times, USA Today, International Herald Tribune and elsewhere. Earlier in her career, while living in Prague, she co-founded Black Box Theater, translating, producing and acting in several Czech plays. She lives with her husband and children in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Links/Social Media

Victoria Dougherty’s blog, Cold:

All photos courtesy of Victoria Dougherty


  1. This is how I feel as well, all of Victoria's writing leaves me always wanting for more!


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