Péter Nádas

Last updated

Peter Nadas Nadas Peter.jpg
Péter Nádas

Péter Nádas (born 14 October 1942) is a Hungarian writer, playwright, and essayist.



He was born in Budapest into a Jewish family, [1] [2] [3] the son of László Nádas (originally Nussbaum) and Klára Tauber. After the takeover of the Hungarian Nazis, the Arrow Cross Party on 15 October 1944, Klára Tauber escaped with her son to Bačka and Novi Sad, but returned to the capital directly before the Siege of Budapest. Péter Nádas survived the siege together with his mother in the flat of his uncle, the journalist Pál Aranyossi.

Even though his parents were illegal Communists during World War II and involved with the Communist administration later on, as well, they had both their sonsPéter and Pálbaptized in the Reformed (Calvinist) Church of Pozsonyi Street. His mother died of an illness when he was 13. In 1958, his fatherhead of department in one of the ministries, slandered with accusations of embezzlement, then exonerated by the court of all chargescommitted suicide; Péter Nádas became an orphan at 16. Magda Aranyossi became the guardian of the two children.

Between 1961 and 1963 Péter Nádas studied journalism and photography. He worked as a journalist at a Budapest magazine (Pest Megyei Hírlap) from 1965 to 1969. He also worked as a playwright and a photographer. Since 1969 he has been a freelancer.

In 1990 he married Magda Salamon (with whom he had been living since 1962). In 1984 they moved to a small village in western Hungary, Gombosszeg, where they have resided ever since, though he also has a residence in the Castle District of Buda.

In 1993, he was elected member of the Széchenyi Academy of Literature and Arts.

Since the early 1970s, he has frequently spent time in Berlin, Germany, attending lectures at Humboldt University or reading in the Staatsbibliothek. He has been a fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Institute for Advanced Study. In 2006, he was elected a member of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin. He enjoys a high reputation in Germany.


After publishing volumes of short stories, he published his first novel The End of a Family Story in 1977.

He published his second novel, A Book of Memories in 1986. It took Nádas twelve years to write this book. [4] The epigraph of this novel is from the Gospel according to John: "But he spoke of the temple of his body" (John, 2.21). In this novel, Nádas describes the world as a system of relations linking human bodies to each other. This book earned Nádas comparisons to Proust.

He published his latest novel, the three-volume Parallel Stories (I: The Mute Realm, II: In the Very Depth of the Night, III: The Breath of Freedom) in 2005. This novel is a multitude of independent stories that melt into one single narrative. It took Nádas eighteen years to complete this book. The novel has been described as "a virtuoso combination of nineteenth-century high realism with the experimentalism of the nouveau roman", while "the real narrative is that of bodies' actions on one another, their attraction and desires, their mutual memories" (Gábor Csordás). The plot is constructed around the histories of two families: one—the Lippay-Lehrs, who are Hungarian, the other—the Döhrings, who are German. These two main threads link irregularly up to one another via specific events or figures.

Nádas' other novels include Lovely Tale of Photography, Yearbook, On Heavenly and Earthly Love, and A Dialogue with Richard Swartz. Death is a recurrent theme in Nádas' work, particularly in Own Death, based on his experience of clinical death.

His writing has been described as intellectual, detailed, strong, innovative, and demanding. He is the winner of the Würth-Preis für Europäische Literatur in 2014. [5] A volume of interviews with Péter Nádas, by Zsófia Mihancsik (Nincs mennyezet, nincs födém) was published in 2006.


Works translated into English:


He has received numerous awards, including

He has also been nominated for the Nobel Prize. [6]

Related Research Articles

Imre Kertész

Imre Kertész was a Hungarian author and recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Literature, "for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history". He was the first Hungarian to win the Nobel in Literature. His works deal with themes of the Holocaust, dictatorship and personal freedom. He died on 31 March 2016, aged 86, at his home in Budapest after suffering from Parkinson's disease for several years.

Antal Szerb Hungarian writer

Antal Szerb was a noted Hungarian scholar and writer. He is generally considered to be one of the major Hungarian writers of the 20th century.

Robert Menasse Austrian writer

Robert Menasse is an Austrian writer.

Claudio Magris Italian scholar, translator and writer (born 1939)

Claudio Magris is an Italian scholar, translator and writer. He was a senator for Friuli-Venezia Giulia from 1994 to 1996.

Péter Esterházy Hungarian writer

Péter Esterházy was a Hungarian writer. He was one of the best known Hungarian and Central European writers of his era. He has been called a "leading figure of 20th century Hungarian literature", his books being considered to be significant contributions to postwar literature.

David Grossman Israeli author

David Grossman is an Israeli author. His books have been translated into more than 30 languages.

Fateless or Fatelessness is a novel by Imre Kertész, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize for literature, written between 1960 and 1973 and first published in 1975.

Lőrinc Szabó

Lőrinc Szabó de Gáborján was a Hungarian poet and literary translator.

László Krasznahorkai Hungarian novelist and screenwriter

László Krasznahorkai is a Hungarian novelist and screenwriter known for difficult and demanding novels, often labeled postmodern, with dystopian and melancholic themes. Several of his works, notably his novels Satantango and The Melancholy of Resistance, have been turned into feature films by Hungarian film director Béla Tarr.

Géza Ottlik

Géza Ottlik was a Hungarian writer, translator, mathematician, and bridge theorist. According to an American obituary bridge column, he was known in Hungary as "the ultimate authority on Hungarian prose".

Mária Szepes

Mária Szepes was a Hungarian author. She worked as a journalist and screenwriter, as well as an independent author in the field of hermetic philosophy since 1941. She would sometimes write under the pseudonyms Mária Papir or Mária Orsi.

András Petőcz Hungarian writer and poet (born 1959)

András Petőcz is a Hungarian writer and poet.

Terézia Mora

Terézia Mora is a Hungarian writer, screenwriter and translator.

Hermann Karl Lenz was a German writer of poetry, fiction stories, and novels. A major part of his work includes 10 volumes in a semi-autobiographical novel cycle about the alter-ego figure "Eugen Rapp". In the 1970s he published the 7-volume Schwäbische Chronik.

<i>Parallel Stories</i>

Parallel Stories is a 2005 novel in three volumes by the Hungarian writer Péter Nádas. It comprises the installments The Silent Province, In the Depths of the Night, and A Breath of Freedom. The narrative portrays Hungary during the 20th century. The novel took 18 years to write. It was published in English as one volume in 2011.

Würth-Preis für Europäische Literatur is a biennial German literary award given to an author. The prize is €25,000 and is open to any European authors. It is one of a series of awards given by the Würth Foundation in Künzelsau, a cultural organization supported by the Würth Group. The prize has been awarded since 1998, for "literary efforts for the cultural diversity of Europe".

Zsófia Bán

Zsófia Bán is a writer, literary historian, essayist and art and literature critic.

Erno Polgar

Ernő Polgár (born Ernö Csupity; 27 January 1954 in Bácsalmás, died 28 October 2018 in Borneo is a Radnoti Prize-winning Nagy Lajos Prize-winning In 2007 he won the one of the highest Hungarian prizes: He was nominated for Nobel Prize in Literature in 2017 for the year of 2018. World literary rank Hungarian-european author, editor, littérateur and dramaturgist. From 2018 he was living in Borneo Island, Brunei Kingdom in his "writing house".

Attila Bartis Hungarian writer and photographer (born 1968)

Attila Bartis is a Romanian-born Hungarian writer, photographer, dramatist and journalist. He received the Attila József Prize in 2005. His books have been translated into over 20 different languages. In 2001, he published his second novel, Tranquility, which was adapted into film in 2008. In 2017, he became a member of the Széchenyi Academy of Literature and Arts.


  1. Raphael Patai, The Jews of Hungary: History, Culture, Psychology, Wayne State University Press (2015), p. 665
  2. Joshua Cohen, The Man in the High Castle, New York magazine, 21 August 2011
  3. Tibor Fischer, Parallel Stories by Peter Nádas – review , The Guardian, 11 November 2011
  4. Kovacs, Davis, “Péter Nádas”, BOMB Magazine Summer, 2007. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  5. 1 2 3 "Peter Nadas bekommt Würth-Literaturpreis". Der Standard (in German). 27 March 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  6. "UrFU suggested a nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature". Ural Federal University. 29 February 2016. Archived from the original on 5 October 2016.