Bohumil Hrabal (Czech pronunciation: ; 28 March 1914 – 3 February 1997) was a Czech writer, regarded by many Czechs as one of the best writers of the 20th century.
Hrabal was born in the city of Brno on 28 March 1914, in what was then the province of Moravia within Austria-Hungary, to an unmarried mother, Marie Božena Kiliánová (1894–1970). According to the organisers of a 2009 Hrabal exhibition in Brno, his biological father was probably Bohumil Blecha (1893–1970), a teacher's son a year older than Marie, who was her friend from the neighbourhood. Marie’s parents opposed the idea of their daughter marrying Blecha, as he was about to serve in the Austro-Hungarian Army. Four months after Hrabal's birth World War I started, and Blecha was sent to the Italian front, before being invalided out of service. Blecha’s daughter, Drahomíra Blechová-Kalvodová, says her father told her when she was 18 that Hrabal was her half-brother. Bohumil and his biological father never met formally, according to Blechová-Kalvodová. Hrabal and Blechová-Kalvodová met twice; a dedication in a picture from 1994 says: "To sister Drahomíra, Hrabal!"