Péter Esterházy's novel Introduction to Literature (Einführung in die schöne Literatur, Berlin Verlag, 2006) was chosen by the jury of the Austrian Radio and Television (ORF) as best book for the month of July.
Péter Esterházy was recently awarded the literary prize of the city of Bari, Italy – an award that had previously been given to authors like the Spanish Luis Sepúlveda, the Israeli A. B. Yehoshua and the British philosopher Eric Hobsbawn in the last few years.
"Looking for a better job, I decided to join a pyramid. The admission committee (the pyramid itself) judged my neck muscles suitable for the show; no particular objection was raised against my build. I was not supplied with any instructions or information; but then again, I didn't inquire either."
Here the aristocratic family name, instead of appearing in the list of honours of governing bodies and salons, does so on the pages of sports papers. What is more, it appears on the gigantic score screens of huge stadiums – thanks to the gifted brother, sometimes even scoring a goal.
The winner of this year's Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize is Len Rix, the translator of Magda Szabó's The Door, published by Harvill. The prize, awarded to translations into English from living European languages, was handed out on June 7, 2006.
The Hungarian literary scene has only recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of the rebirth in 1986 of the notable literary periodical Újhold (New Moon), which originally existed between 1946-1948. This is an important anniversary for contemporary literature which found its roots in the New Moon generation.
There was a time when Hungarian music represented Hungary – everybody was familiar with the name of Bartók and Kodály –, today it is literature. But in a small country with a small language, quality literature is an endangered species, in need of special promotion.