28.04.2011 - György Konrád

György Konrád was witness to some of Europe’s historical low points. He grew up in a Jewish-Hungarian family and only just managed to escape being deported to Auschwitz at the age of eleven, by going into hiding in Budapest. In 1956 he saw how the Soviets brutally beat down the Hungarian uprising. More than ten years later he published his debut novel The Case Worker – a story depicting the life of a social worker and his daily activities – with which he gained his first international fame. Under communism, Konrád would become known as a dissident; he was arrested in 1979 for his sociological study The Intellectual on the Road to Class Power. The arrest led to a wave of protest worldwide. Until 1988 – one year before the political transformation in his country  – his work remained banned in Hungary. In 1990 Konrád was elected president of International PEN, the writers organisation promoting literature and defending freedom of expression.

Shortly before his appearance at BorderKitchen a new collection of essays – the Dutch title being  Slingerbeweging – will be published. In it, Konrád contemplates the impact of the Hungarian history on his own life. He analyses his memories, during which there’s also room for more lighthearted subjects, such as his many travels, daily life in Budapest and his love for literature.

György Konrád will be interviewed (in English) by Wim Brands (VPRO).