World-Famous Hungarian Writer Péter Esterházy Dies Aged 66
Péter Esterházy, one of Hungary’s most widely-known contemporary writers, died on Thursday at the age of 66, the author’s family and publisher told news agency MTI. Esterházy had suffered from pancreatic cancer.
A descendant of a comital branch of the aristocratic Esterházy family, he was born in Budapest on April 14, 1950. His grandfather, Móric Esterházy, served as Hungary’s Prime Minister for a brief period in 1917. Esterházy’s first major success as a writer came in 1979 with the release of the novella “Termelési regény” (“Novel of Production”), a satire of socialist production.
One of his most famous works was the novel entitled “Harmonia Caelestis” (“Celestial Harmonies”), which chronicles his family’s history from the time of the AustroHungarian empire to the rise of communism. In the novel “Javított kiadás” (“Revised Edition”), which was published two years after “Harmonia Caelestis” and served as an appendix to it, Esterházy discusses his father’s reports from when he was working as a secret agent in the communist era.
Péter Esterházy was a member of the Széchenyi Academy of Literature and Arts and the Academy of Arts of Berlin. He received numerous awards and honours throughout his career. In 1996 he was awarded the prestigious Kossuth Prize and in 1999 he received the Austrian State Prize. In 2004, he was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, one of Germany’s most prestigious literature prizes. Two years later, he received the Prima Primissima Award.