06. 10. 2015. 08:27

Q&As with writers at the Budapest Book Festival

The basics of being a writer – brief Q&As with Hungarian writers, conducted by high-school students studying at Milestone Institute, at the 22nd International Book Festival in Budapest in April 2015.

Márton Simon

How did you start writing?

Well, I always loved reading, that was what I was interested in, so I got deeper and deeper in.

Have you got any poems/stories which are all about yourself?

Nope. None of them are completely about me, although there are none that are not at all about me.

Coffee, cigarettes and dawn appear in almost each of your stories. What do they mean to you?

That’s an excellent observation… The truth is that these are things that guarantee a clear and peaceful feeling in the morning.

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Réka Mán-Várhegyi

What is your advice to beginner writers?

My advice is to write every day about anything. Just write for one hour every day.

What did you feel when your first book was published?

It was super and strange that suddenly people would read a book that was written by me. It was really strange, but it’s a feeling everybody should experience.

What do you like about writing?

I like the fact that I can write anything and I am able to tell stories to people, just like my grandmother did to me.

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András Gerevich

How do you invent your characters?

Well, basically, of course, they are somehow based on reality, but after a certain point, you start to invent them on your own.

Do you prefer writing poems?

No, I would prefer writing novels even though I have never written one.

What do you like about writing?

I am a very communicative person, so I like every kind of communication. I used to write tons of letters, and I had several writers in my family, so I have always been surrounded by writing.

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Ádám Nádasdy

After you retranslated a play by Shakespeare or Dante’s  Inferno, do you see it differently?

Yes, sure. It is like when an architect visits a cathedral and observes it as a piece of work. Or for instance, when a hunter walks in the forest.

What was the translation that you enjoyed the most?

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, because it includes a lot of diverse characters and styles.

Do you prefer translating or writing your own poem?

It is difficult to tell. Sometimes this, sometimes the other.

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Zsófi Kemény

How did you start writing? Was there a book that especially influenced you?

I was grown up a family of poets. Marci Simon and Peti Závada held a seminar about slam poetry at the JAK (József Attila  Circle) camp in Szigliget. I went there, I learnt about slam, and started slamming. I have been writing poems for a long time – I had to, or else I would have been disinherited. (Of course, this is not true.)

When do you feel that you are successful?

In slam: when I win a competition or when I am applauded. In poetry: when I am asked to write a poem, and when my picture is displayed in the underpass at Nyugati Railway Station.

You have already tried your hand at writing in several genres. How did you write a novel, poems and slam?

I was actually asked to write a novel. I was asked if there was a novel on my mind and I said there was, because I wanted to write a novel before I turn 20, to write a novel for teens as a teen. I wrote it for the publisher and it was published two days before my 20th birthday.

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Dániel Varró

What inspired you to write?

To tell the truth, my sister wrote poems, and I was jealous. So I started writing because of jealousy.

How do you create your characters?

I'm not so creative, so I shaped every character of my verse novel Beyond Splodge Hill from real life, the main character is my best friend from kindergarten.

Do you write down your ideas immediately?

Yes, but first these ideas are not perfect, so I have to work on them much more if I want them to be interesting for others and not just for myself.

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Kriszta Bódis

How do you create your characters?

From real life. I shape them after interesting people I meet, and I mix several of them in my characters.

Do you shape them after your friends?

Yes, I do, but I always keep this in secret.

Who are the authors who made a lasting impression on you?

Actually, everyone I've read influenced me. From Thomas Mann to Roma authors and Latin American writers.

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Szonja Benczik, Lili Lantos, Keocathia Net, Rebeka Papp

Tags: Réka Mán-Várhegyi, Kriszta Bódis, Márton Simon, András Gerevich, Ádám Nádasdy, Zsófi Kemény, Dániel Varró