Matej Valuch is an entrepreneur and writer from Slovakia. He became internationally-known back in January 2013, when major news channels, both local and international, covered the story of his imprisonment in Iran, where authorities accused him of spying for the CIA. He described his case and his six months long imprisonment in an inspirational autobiography called University of Solitude (2016).

He often shares his story of overcoming adversity, and the lessons he learned in Iranian prison, with a variety of audiences, in libraries, local prisons, schools, non-profit organizations, charity groups, and in front of other formal and informal gatherings. You can find here more information about his literary work, public speaking, and other relevant issues. Should you have any questions, you can send him a message to his personal email address matejvaluch133[at]gmail[dot]com. Thank you!

Literary Work

  • The inspirational true story of a young man’s search for God, truth, and freedom amidst games of international espionage. Matej mentally wrote the book while being detained in Iranian prison, and published it after his eventual release, first in his native language (2014), and a couple of years later in English (2016).
  • To check reviews, read preview, and find out more information on the book, visit the book page on Amazon.
  • If you’d like to order a signed copy (or copies) of the book with personal inscription from the author, please contact us for a quote. Please note that we ship signed books to Europe only.
  • You can obviously order the book from Amazon to any place in the world, and you can also get an eBook if you prefer so. Just search for “Matej Valuch” on your local Amazon store.

  • The inspiring philosophical novel, based on real events. Published in 2018.
  • Outsider maps the journey of two Syrian refugees, cousins Touma and Samir. Touma makes a decision which seems ‘banal’ and ‘everyday’ at first, but eventually results in a loss of his wife and children. He tries to escape dreadful memories and bad conscience, seeking a reason to continue living his life. Samir is detained in a secret prison facility and tortured by the Syrian government forces. When he finally gets out, leaving Syria is his only option.
  • Touma, who narrates the story, experiences a full circle of emotions, meeting a few strange women and men on the journey. These encounters eventually change his outlook on life and his religious beliefs. He eventually finds freedom, but not the kind he expected…
  • You can get the book on the website of your local Amazon store, for example here: The Outsider on


Speaking at events [available also online]

Harsh conditions of an Iranian prison, solitary confinement, deteriorating health, physical and mental issues. But also 24 hours a day you cannot use to work, study, take care of your duties, or enjoy your hobbies. Nothing of that exists in a small cell, and you have only two options how to spend your time: thinking, or getting crazy.

Matej chose the first option. He considers the six months he spent in prison the most difficult, and the most important time of his life. He spoke more than fifty times in front of students, readers, TEDx conference attendees, prisoners, members of various NGOs, and other audiences, narrating his thrilling story, and life lessons he learned in solitary. He can speak in front of your audience as well.

Speaking for your audience

Matej considers sharing his message a personal mission, therefor he accepts all speaking invitations. Except of covering travel expenses, he never asks for a honorary for his talk. Once the talk is over, audience can purchase signed copies of his books, sold for a wholesale price with no profit for the writer.

With the restrictions related to covid-19 in place all over the world, and also to overcome the distance, online speeches are now available as well. With the help of software applications such as Zoom, MS Teams, and other, Matej can speak in front of your audience without traveling anywhere. Sure enough, it is not the same as face to face interaction, but it is better than nothing.

The speech can take anything from thirty minutes to two hours. Matej always adjusts his talk to the audience, circumstances and time he’s given for his speech, but generally he tries to cover the following subjects:

  • How can a young, twenty five years old man end up in Iranian prison?
  • 40 days in solitary confinement, what does a prisoner experience during the time, how it changes his life in both bad and good means.
  • How do the games of international espionage work, and what role do people like Matej (unwittingly) play in them.
  • Reflections on freedom, God, and truth; emotions and feelings Matej experienced, outlook on life before, during, and after his detention in Iran.
  • Stories of other prisoners, bizarre accusations, torture, inhuman conditions of Iranian prisons.
  • University of Solitude, the book that covers Matej’s story.

If you think your audience could benefit from hearing Matej’s message, don’t hesitate to contact him. He’ll be glad to share his story with you.

Links and mentions in media

Contact Matej

You can contact Matej directly at matejvaluch133[at]gmail[dot]com, to discuss the possibilities of speaking in front of your audience (live or online), or for any other matters related to his literary work. Thank you!