10. 10. 2005. 13:05

Magda Szabó is 88

88-year old Magda Szabó is ’like rock’n’roll: intense, radical and smashing’, said writer János Háy. She is the only Hungarian author alive, added Háy, whose novel Abigél was selected among the twelve most popular books in the Hungarian Big Book project.

Magda Szabó, one of the most popular and most widely translated Hungarian writers has recently celebrated her 88th birthday. The Petofi Literary Museum
and Európa Publishing House have held a celebration in honor of her birthday as well as the publishing of the one hundred thousandth copy of her latest novel, Für Elise.

At the celebration writer János Háy said 88-year old Magda Szabó was ’like rock’n’roll: intense, radical and smashing’. She is the only Hungarian author alive, added Háy, whose novel Abigél was selected among the twelve most popular books in the Hungarian Big Book project.

Besides novels, Magda Szabó has written dramas, poems and essays, but we can definitely ’recognize her face’ in all these genres, said literary historian and poet László Lator. He added that Szabó’s works were translated and known in 42 countries. She had inherited her love of Latinity from her family, but she had also got from them a ’moral, intellectual and emotional baggage’ for all her life. Lator called Szabó a ’master of details’.

Levente Osztovits, the head Európa Publishing House said that Európa has published 28 volumes of her life-work since 1999, and has sold a total of 325 thousand copies ever since.

The author told the audience that she was currently working on the second part of Für Elise, and would be going to Sicily in December to collect a literary prize. Magda Szabó was also the winner of the French Femina Prize for Foreign Novel in 2003 for her novel The Door (La Porte, publ. Viviane Hamy).

List of Magda Szabó’s works in translation

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