Asking yourself why should you be interested in reading and publishing contemporary Hungarian literature? Here is a wonderful quote from Scott Esposito, American critic, writer and editor of Conversational Reading, that might be of some help:
Believing in the importance of translated literature is kind of like believing in the importance of the differences between cultures. What would be the point of encouraging people to read books from all over the world, after all, if we all wrote in more or less the same way?
If you’re with me so far, then the inevitable conclusion of this logic is that certain readers will find certain places more kindred than others. For me, those charmingly dour, apocalyptic, existential authors that seem to thrive in Mitteleuropa like no other place on Earth have always struck a deep chord within me. To think what life would be like without the comfort, insight, and sheer melancholy splendor of greats like Kafka, Bernhard, and Sebald.
I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to come to the pleasures of Hungarian literature, but over the past few years I’ve discovered that this is one of the most fertile parts of one of the most fertile regions in my literary world. To my recollection, my first true experience with Hungarian lit was in 2008 with the irony-laced, desert-dry, tragic vision penned by Attila Bartis in the aptly titled Tranquility. I was soon on to the bizarrely sexual, maximalist opuses of Peter Nadas and the emphatically strange varieties of spectacle thought up by László Krasznahorkai, to name just a couple. One feels that the land that gave us the genius of Béla Bartók—the ideal musical accompaniment to these giants—hides many more treasures. I eagerly await the day that either I learn Hungarian, or these authors become available in English translation.