10. 18. 2017. 11:01

Visegrad Overview

In this series, we look at the Hungarian literature being published in translation in the surrounding countries.


In this series, we look at the Hungarian literature being published in translation in the surrounding countries.



The Hungarian Cultural Season in Poland, which is just drawing to a close, was accompanied by a number of new publications, and there is still plenty of steam, even in the second half of 2017.

Nisza are publishing Zoltán Halasi’s The Road to the Empty Sky (Droga do pustego nieba) in Kinga Piotrowiak-Junkiert’s translation. Halasi’s prose tries to recreate the Yiddish-language culture that was wiped out in Europe by the Nazi death machine. Halasi shows us this culture from the inside, as well as the stages of its destruction, from the tripartite Polish-Jewish-German viewpoint of people with very characteristic jobs, mostly professional. He does so mainly through texts dressed up as documents. At the same time, he also penetrates with surgical incisiveness into the Nazi way of thinking, and employs new literary means of examining life in the ghetto and the stages of the eradication of this culture.

Książkowe Klimaty are bringing out Noé Tibor Kiss’s first novel Inkognitó (Incognito) in Daniel Warmuz’s translation. The book will likely appear in November. Incognito, which was published in Hungarian in 2010, recounts experieces about which contemporary Hungarian society knows very little. The book is the story of a young person in Hungary at the turn of the millennium confronted, growing up, with the non-conventional traits of their identity as it develops. It’s no accident that the fundamental premiss of Incognito reminds one of a classic bildungsroman, though with very different dilemmas. The reader nonetheless experiences the same kind of anxiety for the hero’s fate, the hero, too, potentially unaware of how dependent and vulnerable they are in the world where they happen to have ended up.

The autumn also sees the publication of two children’s books by Krisztina Tóth, A Nose-Blowing Tale (Zasmarkana bajka) and Mother’s had an Operation (Mama miała operację). Both are published by Adamantan, and both are translated by Anna Butrym. An earlier book by Tóth, Vonalkód (Barcode), which appeared in 2016 under the auspices of the Hungarian Cultural Season in Poland, was also translated by Anna Butrym. That book was published by Książkowe Klimaty in Wroclaw.

(Our thanks to Monika Marianna Blaszczak, at the Hungarian Institute in Warsaw).


Czech Republic:

The autumn will be a busy period for Hungarian books in the Czech Republic as well. Volvox Globator published Árpád Kun’s Boldog észak [Happy North] in Anna Valentová’s translation. Gergely Péterfy’s Kitömött barbár [The Stuffed Barbarian] has also been available since late spring, published by Dybbuk and translated by Jungmann-prize-winner Róbert Svoboda.

Karolinum, Prague’s University Publishers, brought out István Vörös’ Co je ironická věda, a selection of essays translated by Gál Adél, Tomáš Vašut and Jiří Zeman. István Vörös participated in a number of book launches in several Czech cities (Prague, Brno, Olomouc) in early October.

Simona Kolmanová translated Viktor Horváth’s Turkish Mirror, which was published by Větrné mlýny. Viktor Horváth was a special guest at the Svět knihy Book Fair in 2013. The author’s latest book will soon also be available in Czech. My Tank is the fourth book in the K4 Central European literature series, also published by Větrné mlýny and translated by Simona Kolmanová. The K4 series publishes a Slovak, Czech, Hungarian or Polish author every year. The goal of the series is to allow people to enjoy contemporary literature from nearby, neighbouring, and perhaps even friendly countries at the same time.

Havran will soon be publishing György G. Kardos’ Seven Days in the life of Abraham Bogatir, also in Anna Valentová’s translation. By the end of the year, we can expect to see Ferenc Barnás’ The Ninth, translated by Márta Pató. Barnás was a special guest at the ProtimluvFest Book Fair in 2014, and it is Protimluv that will be publishing his book. After Pixel and Aquarium, another book by Krisztina Tóth will be published in Czech under the title The Girl who didn’t Speak. This will be published by Baobab and was translated by Nóra Hamar, and can be expected to be out this year.
At the same time, we’re starting to see what’s coming at the beginning of next year, too. Two autobiographical novels by György Konrád will soon be published in one volume by Academia in Prague, also translated by Róbert Svoboda. These are Leaving and Returning and Up on the Mountain during the Eclipse. Konrád is very popular in the Czech Republic: The Visitor, The Accessory and The Founder of the City have all been published, as well as a volume of selected essays.

In the early spring of 2018, we can expect to see Zsuzsa Rácz’s Stop Old Teréz!, translated by Lenka Kubelová and published by Motto/Albatros.

(Our thanks to Attila Gál, at the Hungarian Institute in Prague.)



The end of the year will see the list of Hungarian books in Slovak broaden too: Renáta Deák will be translating both Péter Esterházy’s Hasnyálmirigynapló [Pancreas Diary] and Viktor Horváth’s My Tank.

(Our thanks to Andrea Kiss and Lilla Lőrik of the Slovak Institute in Budapest.)

Renátó Fehér

Translated by: Mark Baczoni