The Nobel Prize is the most prestigious literary award in the world, and the last – and first – time a Hungarian author was awarded was in 2002. Imre Kertész received the prestigious prize for his autobiographically inspired works on the Holocaust and the authoritarian regime. Although the names of Péter Nádas and László Krasznahorkai are regularly mentioned among the nominees, neither they nor any other Hungarian writer has won a Nobel Prize since. However, this does not mean that Hungarian literature is not recognized by the world, as contemporary Hungarian authors regularly feature on international and European lists. Index‘s selection of Hungarian winners from recent weeks is a round-up of the best Hungarian authors.
Ottó Tolnai, Kossuth Prize-winning Hungarian writer and translator, one of the most outstanding authors of Hungarian literature in the world, has been awarded this year’s Vilenica Prize, the award’s board of trustees announced at a press conference in Ljubljana on June 7, 2023, litera.hu reported. The award comes with a cash prize of €10,000 for the author and €5,000 for the translator.
Photo: Facebook/Tolnai Ottó
“The strength of Ottó Tolnai’s texts is most evident in the small scratches and cracks in his writing, which are freely penetrated by the rich experience of ex-Yugoslav culture. This historical and cultural base, with its sprawling intricacy, fascinates the reader, but also unsettles them in a productive way. His oeuvre draws on and selects from a multitude of elements of the Hungarian and (ex) Yugoslavian intellectual heritage and moral and political tradition.
The fundamental pillar of Tolnai’s art is the duality of strong factuality and materiality, and the unique Tolnai imagination, a power that travels to astonishing horizons. “In his ‘Arias’, as he calls his writings, which are of a particular genre, the reader is confronted with a completely unique poetics and textual form,” emphasized Jutka Rudaš, a member of the jury, who at the same time nominated Tolnai for the prize.
The prize will be awarded to the author at the 38th International Vilenica Literary Festival, organized by the Slovenian Writers’ Union in September 2023.
Following the awards to Péter Esterházy in 1988, Péter Nádas in 1998, and László Krasznahorkai in 2014, Tolnai is the fourth Hungarian writer to receive this prestigious award.
Next on the list is István Turczi: this year’s winner of the 1573 International Poetry Grand Prize in China. For the first time since its inception, a Hungarian poet will receive the most prestigious and largest cash prize of the Chinese award, as Hungary Today reported earlier.
The 1573 International Grand Prize for Poetry has been awarded to István Turczi.Continue reading
Third on the list is Levente Dániel Pál, who has been publishing poetry, short stories, and essays for more than two decades, and his work has been translated into English, German, and many other languages as well. His work has recently been honored by a prestigious American literary magazine.
Dániel Pál Levente’s poem “Tears Are the Pus of the Soul” won the poetry prize in the recent competition of the American literary magazine MusePaper.
An earlier version of the poem was published in the author’s book The Eighth District of the Lord (Athenaeum, Budapest, 2017), with an English translation by Adrienn Poleczky and Dominic Ward. The author later rewrote this version as a poem and submitted it to the competition of the American magazine.
At the beginning of May, it was announced that László Krasznahorkai’s novel War and War was shortlisted with thirteen others on the list of nominees for the European Prize for Literature, and on June 14 the shortlist was published. The Hungarian work will now compete with the writings of Claire-Louise Bennett, Eva Menasse, and Leïla Slimani. The winner will be announced at the award ceremony in The Hague in November.
War and War was first published 15 years ago. Since then, the millennium has become the century before, and in the middle of the world, in New York, it is no longer those towers but Ground Zero; the novel’s chaotic contexts and present-prophesied sentences are even more relevant in our ongoing future.