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Hungary's most famous authors

Hungary's most famous authors
Hungary has a number of notable writers. Some of them, renowned for their critical views, are being excluded from Viktor Orban's new school curriculum.

Black and white drawing of Sandor Petöfi giving a speech in front of an agitated crowd (picture-alliance/akg-images)

Sandor Petofi (1823-1849)


To this day, Sandor Petofi is considered Hungary's national poet par excellence. His "National Song" became the anthem of the revolution of 1848 when the Hungarians rebelled against the ruling Habsburgs. Petofi was killed during one of the last battles of the revolution and became a national martyr. Today, in Hungary, countless streets, schools, squares and bridges are named after him.
Peter Esterhazy (Public Domain)

Peter Esterhazy (1950-2016)

He is one of the most influential Hungarian writers of the 20th century. In his main work, "Celestial Harmonies," Peter Esterhazy skillfully traces the complex history of Hungary along his own family history. His works have also received many awards outside of Hungary. His work was removed from the new curriculum of the Orban government.
Imre Kertesz (picture-alliance/AP Photo/Keystone/G. Kefalas)

Imre Kertesz (1929-2016)

His works are also no longer to be part of compulsory reading in Hungarian schools. Yet Imre Kertesz is the country's only Nobel Prize winner for literature. In his best-known work, "Fatelessness," he deals with his personal experiences in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. Later, Kertesz repeatedly stressed Hungary's complicity in the Holocaust.
Miklos Radnoti (Gemeinfrei)

Miklos Radnoti (1909-1944)

Miklos Radnoti was also a writer of Jewish heritage. During the Second World War, he was sent to the front several times as a forced laborer. He recorded his experiences in impressive poems. Later he was sent on one of the infamous death marches. Despite the exertions, he continued to write poems. In November 1944, he was murdered, as he was too exhausted to go on.
Jozsef Attila (picture-alliance/dpa/MTI)

Jozsef Attila (1905-1937)

Jozsef Attila advanced from being a poor street urchin to becoming one of the most famous poets of his time even as a young man. His poems were provocative. In 2011, the Orban government planned to remove a monument to the writer near the parliament due to his communist affinities. After massive protests by artists and intellectuals, however, the plan was abandoned.
Magda Szabo (picture-alliance/dpa/EPA/A. Kovacs)

Magda Szabo (1917-2007)

Magda Szabo was one of the most outstanding female voices in the completely male-dominated Hungarian literary world. Strong women often play a leading role in her novels. In communist Hungary, she was not allowed to publish for a long time. From the late 1950s onwards, Szabo wrote numerous books, mainly novels, which were translated into over 30 languages.
Margit Kaffka (Gemeinfrei)

Margit Kaffka (1880-1918)

Margit Kaffka also made the social role of women a central theme of her literary work. Beginning when she was a young woman, she wrote for the influential literary journal "Nyugat." Her most famous novel, "Colors and Years," was published in 1912. Six years later, Kaffka died of the Spanish flu.
Endre Ady (picture-alliance/dpa/MTI)

Endre Ady (1877-1919)

Endre Ady was a great admirer of Kaffka's work and for a time editor of "Nyugat." In his poems he denounced social injustices and the burgeoning nationalism in early 20th-century Hungary. He often visited Paris and was influenced by the works of Baudelaire. To this day, he is considered one of Hungary's most important poets.
Laszlo Krasznahorkai (picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Dunham)

Laszlo Krasznahorkai (1954-)
Laszlo Krasznahorkai is one of Hungary's most important contemporary writers. His often gloomy novels such as "Satan's Tango" have been translated in numerous languages and have made him famous far beyond the country's borders. Many of his books were also turned into films by Hungarian director Bela Tarr. In 2015, he was the first Hungarian author to receive the Man Booker International Prize.

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