"I wanted to know who, why and how was involved in ruining the first half of my life." - Poet Zsófia Balla moved from Romania to Hungary shortly after the regime change in 1989. We asked her about her decision to request the surveillance file by the Romanian Secret Service (the Securitate) targeting her during communism.
"– They say that your Susanna is a witch! (...) – That’s not true! – I snapped back in fury (...). – Anyways I saw her myself asleep in her bed on Saint Martin’s eve, when the thirteenth happened to fall on a Friday! – I said triumphantly, hoping this once to come out on top in the debate. – If she were a witch she would have had to have flown to the Brocken peaks at midnight!"
"...on sleek black roller skates and carrying a thick, leather-bound book, was King Matthias. He, too, wore a Burger King crown, over a thick red wig that reached his shoulders. (...) Why, I wondered, was the king, who was supposed to be incognito amongst the peasants, wearing a crown?"
These urban intellectual women had lost their livelihoods and their positions in the wake of the 1956 Revolution or in the Rákosi era: jobless, they sit around drinking coffee, sipping cheap cognac, smoking working men’s cigarettes and finding comfort in each other’s beds. Escaping from their unheated bed-sitters, they while away the time in cheap bistros pondering whether to kill themselves or escape to the West.
"The tram came to a stop and I flung what was left of my Multi on the tracks opposite. To hell with Germanic tidiness; I was glad to live in Hungary, where, even if the day-to-day struggle for cash was all-consuming, at least I was free to compensate with such a cynical gesture knowing that others couldn’t care less, and that if they did care, most likely they were on my side; for we were all in the same creaky, splintered wooden boat." – Adventures of a New Jersey-born Hungarian American in post-socialist Hungary.
Once a year, the Goethe Institute awards the Goethe Medal to foreign personalities whose works have substantially contributed to international cultural dialogue. This year, Dezso Tandori, one of the most versatile and experimental figures of Hungarian literature will receive the medal for his contribution to German-Hungarian literary dialogue.
Tamás Jónás' poems lead us into a merciless world. There is no resting place: even in the midst of a family idyll, the individual is not allowed a moment of respite. He continually has to answer for some sin that he either has or has not committed, or call on others to answer for the sins they have committed against him.
A middle-aged husband unable to provide for his wife and mother-in-law after the local meat-packing plant closed down decides to commit suicide. An infotainment show host arrives to sign a contract whereby he will do it live on television.