BORN on February 11, 1939, in Plzeň (Pilsen), Czech Republic, Rudolf Chmel came to Slovakia with his parents in 1941. He graduated from the department of Slovak language and literature at the Philosophical Faculty of Comenius University in Bratislava in 1961, and went to work at the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV) as a researcher in the field of history of literature.
Since 1982, he has worked for the Union of Czechoslovak Writers, was editor-in-chief of the literary journal Slovenské pohľady (Slovak Views), and after November 1989, was director of the Institute of Slovak Literature of the SAV.
From 1990 to 1992, Chmel served as Slovakia's ambassador to Hungary, and he held the position of president of the Open Society Foundation until 2000. Besides carrying out academic research, he also lectured at Comenius University in Bratislava and Charles University in Prague. He still lectures at the latter.
Chmel has edited several anthologies of 19th and 20th century Slovak literature and is the author of several studies on the history of Slovak literature. He is a member of the New Citizen's Alliance (ANO) and was elected to parliament in the 2002 national elections. He is married with four children.
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