Female games men play: Male writers with female pseudonyms

Why would a male writer want to assume a woman’s identity? I recently came across an article on Elena Ferrante, the reclusive Italian writer whose identity is unknown, but – the article says, quoting an Italian woman – “everyone knows” she is really a man. Which in turn made me realize that in fact there are several examples in recent Hungarian literature for male writers who assumed a female pseudonym – admittedly, only for one book.

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Literary walks: Csikágó, Pál Békés


There is an area in the seventh district of Budapest called Chicago, or rather, Csikágó, in Hungarian spelling. Many people believe that the name suggests a high crime rate, shootings and gang violence, whereas in fact it refers to something entirely different. Continue reading

“We cannot find words.” Best first sentences of Hungarian novels

Fascinated by the exhibition of the Hungarian National Gallery on dada and surrealism, I started to read One Man’s Life by Lajos Kassák, the emblematic figure of Hungarian avant-garde.

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Literary walks: Pasarét, Magda Szabó

szabo_es_szobotkaIt’s been raining for weeks now in Budapest, and it feels like, though it may not be the exact factual truth, that it’s been raining most of the time since mid-August. In any case, yesterday was surely the first sunny day in weeks, so I took a long walk in the neighbourhood called Pasarét, or ’the Pasha’s Meadow.’ Continue reading