Initially, writing about the love life of Hungarian writers and poets was a mere pastime. But before he knew it, Krisztián Nyáry's Facebook posts became so popular that within a year he gained 23 thousand followers.
Krisztián Nyáry used to work as a lecturer at the University of Pécs, teaching the history of Hungarian poetry, so he was already familiar with most of the stories. “The first twenty posts were in my head, I only had to check the dates and the places”, he says about the series he started in January 2012 that he has also published in a book form ever since.
“I didn’t even know that you could register to follow someone’s Facebook posts, and before I knew it I had two thousand followers who were regularly reading my illustrated stories about the life of Hungarian writers and artists”, Nyáry explains. He adds, however, that his most popular posts are those written on sportsmen rather than writers. One of them was shared by ten thousand people, in a country with ten million inhabitants. Among the writers, posts on Endre Ady are the most popular. Nyáry estimates that his pieces are shared by two thousand people on average, reaching tens of thousands.
Nyáry mainly works from internet resources, and writes about well-known figures such as Miklós Radnóti or Antal Szerb, as well as about forgotten authors like Jenő Komjáthy. He usually spends an hour or at most an hour and a half a day on his posts that are eagerly waited by his followers.
Initially, he thought it was mainly women who read his stories, but as it turns out, both genders are represented in equal proportion. His readers are mostly people with a university degree who are interested in love stories and the life of their favourite authors. “This is not a mission for me, but it does motivate me to see my posts creating interest for the works themselves, in many cases even works by forgotten authors”, Nyáry says. He once got an email from a librarian in Transylvania, who wrote that after his latest blog post there were more people who borrowed the books of that writer. He is often invited to hold a class in literature in high schools.
Nyáry says that he chose the topic of love because he wanted to entertain readers. However, he says, it depends on school education whether we will read later, and our textbooks hardly help students fall in love with writers. Literature textbooks in Hungary are mostly illustrated with very formal pictures of writers and poets, completely in accordance with the texts, both creating the impression that writers were not really ordinary people. Even those who in fact had an extremely exciting life are portrayed as statue-like and unapproachable. This cultic approach hardly makes the authors attractive for students, and often embellishes their life so that it would conform to an idealized image.
“Nyáry writes about great writers as if he was their father confessor,” writer Krisztián Grecsó says. “Or as if he was watching them from a window opposite their apartment. But when I read his post on Zsigmond Móricz on Facebook, I understood that it was even more than that. Nyáry loves his writers like we love our parents: unconditionally, dearly and desperately.”
(Picture: poet Miklós Radnóti with his wife, Fanni Gyarmati. He was killed in 1944, at the age of 35; she is still alive in Budapest, and celebrated her 100th birthday last September.)
Tags: Krisztián Nyáry