CSILLA BERTHA, Debrecen University, Hungary, honorary chair of the Hungarian Yeats Society, author of Yeats the Playwright (in Hungarian), co-author of Worlds Visible and Invisible, co-edited several volumes on Irish literature, most recently Mirror up to Theatre (2015 Irish University Review special issue). She publishes widely in English and Hungarian on Yeats, contemporary Irish drama, sites of memory in drama and theatre, art within art, and interart relations in theatre. She has also edited Hungarian poetry in English translation, Homeland in the Heights (Budapest, 2000) and with Donald E. Morse has co-translated Transylvanian Hungarian plays, including Silenced Voices (Dublin, 2008).
FERENC BUDA (Debrecen, 1936), poet, writer, translator. In 1957 he was imprisoned for three poems with a revolutionary theme, but was released a year later. In the 1960s he was a member of the poets’ group known as A Hetek (The Seven). Between 1970 and 1986 he worked in the Bács-Kiskun County Archives. From 1986 onwards he was on the staff of the monthly Forrás. He is a regular member of the Hungarian Academy of Arts.
THOMAS COOPER (Chapel Hill, NC, 1971) is a professor of American literature and comparative cultural studies at Eszterházy Károly University in Eger. After completing his doctorate in comparative literature he taught and pursued research as a fellow at the University of North Carolina, Columbia University, the University of Vienna, and the Collegium Budapest Institute for Advanced Studies before accepting a position as a member of the faculty in Eger. A member of the executive board of the International Association for Hungarian Studies, he has published extensively on Hungarian literature and literary history, and his translations of Hungarian prose and poetry have appeared in several collections and literary journals.
TIBOR FISCHER (Stockport, 1959) was born to Hungarian parents, both professional basketball players who had left Hungary in 1956. He grew up in south London before going to Cambridge University to study Latin and French. He has worked as a journalist and was selected as one of the 20 “Best of Young British Novelists 2” by Granta magazine in 1993. His first novel, Under the Frog (1992), which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction, tells the story of a Hungarian basketball player, Gyuri Fischer, dreaming of escape to the West while on a tour in the 1950s. His other fiction includes The Thought Gang (1994), The Collector (1997), and Don’t Read This Book If You’re Stupid (2000). His novel, Voyage to the End of the Room (2003) has been called an updating of Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island for the 21st century. His latest novel is Good to Be God (2008) and he published another collection of stories entitled Crushed Mexican Spiders in 2011.
ALBERTO INDELICATO historian, professor and diplomat. He entered the diplomatic service in 1954 and was sent to Austria, Argentina, Hungary, and France. Italian ambassador at UNESCO (Paris), the German Democratic Republic (East Berlin), the UNO and the International Atomic Agency (Vienna). He is the author of essays and articles and the following books: The Brezhnev Doctrine, The False Fascisms, The Hammer and the Compass, Life Agony and Death of Communist Germany, Memories from a Ghost Country, Euroland Against Europe, Spies and Professors in Kádár’s Hungary, Utopists, Idealists and Politicians of the 20th Century. He has taught contemporary history at St. Pio V University and LUISS University in Rome.
GÉZA JESZENSZKY (Budapest, 1941), D. Phil., historian, graduated from Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. From 1976 to 2011, he taught at what is today Corvinus University of Budapest. Was a Fulbright Visiting Professor at U.C. Santa Barbara in 1984-86. Taught the history of international relations and of Central Europe at numerous other universities in the U.S. and Europe. He was Foreign Minister of Hungary in the first non-Communist government (1990– 94), Ambassador to the United States of America in 1998–2002, and to Norway and Iceland in 2011-2014. He is the author of numerous publications on history and foreign policy, his latest book in English is Post-Communist Europe and Its National/Ethnic Problems (Budapest, 2009). His account of Hungary’s relations to her neighbours (in Hungarian) came out this April. He is an editorial adviser for Hungarian Review.
ANNA KISS (Gyula, 1939), poet, writer, playwright. From the start of her career she represented a special voice in modern Hungarian poetry; in her works the strong pictorial element typical of folk poetry acquires a new function: a mythical, at the same time playful way of seeing things and lively humour characterise her writings. Between 1990 and 1994 she was one of the editors of the monthly Tekintet. She is a regular member of the Hungarian Academy of Arts.
Prof. JÁNOS MARTONYI (Kolozsvár/Cluj 1944) university professor (University of Szeged; Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest; College of Europe, Bruges and Natolin; Central European University, Budapest), politician, attorney, international arbitrator, author of numerous books, essays and articles primarily in the field of international trade law, competition policy and law, European integration and law, cooperation in Central Europe, global regulations and international relations. Commissioner for privatisation in 1989–1990; State Secretary in the Ministry of International Economic Relations in 1990– 1991, State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1991–1994, managing partner at the law firm Martonyi and Kajtár, Baker & McKenzie, Budapest in 1994–1998 and 2002–2009, Head of the Institute for Private International Law and International Trade Law at the University of Szeged in 1999–2009, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Hungary in 1998–2002 and 2010–2014. Awards: the Commander’s Cross with the Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, the Széchenyi Prize, the Hungarian American Coalition 2016 Award, the Legion of Honour of France, the National Order of Merit of France and the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun of Japan, as well as British, Austrian, Polish and Bulgarian state decorations.
GORDON McKECHNIE (Detroit, 1951) was educated at the International School of Geneva and at the University of Oxford. After a career in banking (working in the then emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe from 1989), he became a Partner of Deloitte and subsequently worked for the UK Treasury. Among his current positions, he is Chairman of the OECD’s Infrastructure and PPP Network and a member of the International Committee of Tearfund.
LÁSZLÓ NAGY (Felsőiszkáz, 1925 – Budapest, 1978), poet, translator. From 1953 to 1957 he worked as editor of the children’s monthly Kisdobos, then as its editor- in-chief. From 1959 until his death he was picture editor of the cultural weekly Élet és Irodalom, and also one of its principal contributors. His poetic revolution aimed at transplanting the Bartókian model in Hungarian poetry; a rich pictorial quality, great linguistic strength and a special world of forms characterised his poems, influencing generations of young poets.
JOHN O’SULLIVAN (Liverpool, 1942) is editor-at-large of National Review in New York where he served as Editor-in-Chief for ten years. He was a Special Adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street and later assisted her in the writing of her two volumes of memoirs. He has held a wide variety of senior editorial positions in the media on both sides of the Atlantic. He is the founder and co-chairman of the Atlantic Initiative, an international bipartisan organisation dedicated to reinvigorating and expanding the Atlantic community of democracies, launched at the Congress of Prague in May 1996 by President Václav Havel and Lady Thatcher. His book, The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister (on Pope John Paul II, President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher), was published in Hungarian, too, in 2010. Until 2011, he was the Executive Editor of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty in Prague. Currently he is the President of the Danube Institute, Budapest.
ISTVÁN ÖRKÉNY (Budapest, 1912 – Budapest, 1979), writer, translator. He was a dramaturge and editor, then worked as an engineer at a pharmaceutical factory. In 1942 he was sent to the River Don front in a forced labour unit. In 1943 he was taken prisoner of war, and returned home at Christmas 1946. He worked on the Communist daily Szabad Nép, and his writings appeared in several monthlies and weeklies. Because of his participation in the 1956 Revolution, his works were not authorised to appear from 1958 to 1962, and he had to return to pharmacology during these years. From 1963 on he enjoyed great success for his novels, short stories and works for the stage.
NICHOLAS T. PARSONS is a freelance author, translator and editor based in Vienna. A graduate of New College, Oxford he spent two years in Italy teaching at the British Institute of Florence and as Reader in English at the University of Pisa before returning to the UK to work in publishing for ten years in the 1970s and early 1980s. In 1984 he settled in Central Europe with his Hungarian wife, the art historian Ilona Sármány, and has since published some 17 books on cultural topics, writing also as Louis James. These include the Blue Guide Austria and the Blue Guide Vienna as well as the first English guide to Hungary to be published following the change of the regime in 1989. His essay-length Xenophobe’s Guide to the Austrians (Louis James) has been in print for 20 years. His recent books are Worth the Detour: A Cultural History of the Guidebook from Pausanias to the Rough Guide, and Vienna: A Cultural and Literary History (Signal Books/Oxford University Press). His latest work is A New Devil’s Dictionary: Lexicon for Contrarians, a reformulation for our times of Ambrose Bierce’s satirical take on disingenuous language.
GYÖRGY PETRI (Budapest, 1943 – Budapest, 2000), poet, writer, translator. He studied Hungarian literature and philosophy at Eötvös Loránd University. From 1975 to 1988 his works were banned; his poetry appeared only in samizdat and abroad. Between 1981 and 1989 he was editor of the samizdat newspaper Beszélő. After the regime change he became member of the editorial board of the cultural monthly Holmi. He was one of the founders of the Digital Literary Academy.
MÁTYÁS SÁRKÖZI (Budapest, 1937), writer, journalist. Settled in London towards the end of 1956 as a Hungarian refugee. Within a few weeks after his arrival he became a student of St Martin’s School of Art, studying book-illustration. Later he became employed by the BBC’s Hungarian Section. Since 1990, he has been spending part of his time in Budapest and writing for and appearing in the Hungarian media. His latest publications include Csé. Cs. Szabó László életműve [Csé. László Cs. Szabó’s Oeuvre] (Kortárs Kiadó 2014), Levelek Zugligetből – Tamperdü [Letters from Zugliget – Tamperdü] (E-book, Kortárs Kiadó 2016), and ’34,’44,’56 – PLUSZ. Elbeszélések és egy beszélgetés [’34, ’44, ’56 – PLUS. Short stories and a conversation] (Kortárs Kiadó 2016).
JERZY SNOPEK is a historian of literature and culture, and professor at the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He is the Polish Ambassador to Hungary. In 1995-2006, he served as the Academy’s research director, where he established a Team of European Literary Studies. In 1985-1990, he lectured in Polish literature at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. In 2000 he co-founded the Academy of Humanities Foundation and then was its management board’s vice president. He is one of the founders of the Bolesław Prus Warsaw School of Humanities. For ten consecutive years he was its professor and dean, and recently its vice president. Jerzy Snopek is the author of numerous books on Polish and Hungarian culture of different periods. He has published 400 papers, articles, essays and reviews. His collection of Polish tales and legends entitled Śpiący rycerze was also published in Hungary. He has translated over 20 books of Hungarian poetry and prose, and the Hungarian Constitution. He has been awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary and the Gold Cross of the President of the Republic of Hungary.
ZOLTÁN TÓFALVI (Korond, 1944), historian, writer, journalist and television editor. His research focuses on Transylvanian and Romanian echoes of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, as well as on popular ceramics of the Szekler Land. He is the author of eleven monographs and several hundred articles published in Hungary, the United States, Sweden, Germany and Romania. He has been awarded several distinctions, including the prize of the Hungarian Journalists’ Association in Romania (1997) and that of the periodical Székelyföld (2002). Tófalvi has published three thick volumes on the so-called “high treason trials” mounted in Romania after the fall of the ’56 Revolution; the fourth volume is to appear soon.
MIHÁLY VARGA is the Minister for National Economy. Received bachelor’s degree in economics from Karl Marx University of Economic Sciences (today Corvinus University) in Budapest in 1989. Served as State Secretary at the Ministry of Finance during the first Orbán government from 1998 to 2000 before being appointed Minister of Finance in 2001. Was State Secretary in charge of the Prime Minister’s Office in the second Orbán government between 2010 and 2012. Served as Minister without Portfolio in charge of the government’s relations with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union between 2012 and 2013. Mr. Varga has been a Member of the Board of Governors at the European Investment Bank since 2013. He serves as Governor of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.