András Petöcz [ Hungary ]
András Petőcz was born in Budapest in 1959. After graduating from Budapest University he became an editor of the journal »Jelenlét« (tr: Presence). In 1983 he founded a »second public« association to promote the avantgarde in the arts and literature, »Medium Art«. The group had close ties to the democratic opposition in the country. In the 1980s he joined a Paris-based circle of avantgarde artists, and participated in international poetry meetings in Tarascon and other locations. He focused on visual and sound poetry and from 1989 to 1991 made video films in the Budapest studio of Bela Balazs.
Petőcz’s poetry was at that time closely associated with modern Hungarian classical art (Mihály Babits, Dezső Kosztolányi), as well as the new art of the epoch (Dezső Tandori, Miklós Erdély). His 1990 poem »Európa metaforája« (tr. The European Metaphor) was seen as both a symbol of the political transformations and the finest poem of the year receiving the Robert Graves Award. His poems have appeared in individual books as well as some 25 anthologies. He also focused on literature studies, participating, for example, in the educational project »The West« conducted by the University of Budapest, where he obtained his Ph.D summa cum laude in 2009 with a thesis on the poet Károly Tamkó Sirató and his »Dimensionist Manifesto« (Paris, 1936). Beginning in 1998 he spent three years at an international literary seminar in Iowa, USA, where he increasingly focused on prose writing. The first result of this shift was the novella »Egykor volt házibarátaink« (tr: The Former Friends of our Family). Several years’ stay in France provided the inspiration for his first novel »A születésnap« (2006; tr. The Birthday). His second novel »Idegenek« (2008; tr. Friends), a vision of a decayed and terrorised world, attempts to come to terms with the mass murder of Beslan (in 2004), one of the most tragic episodes of the Chechnyan wars, in which hundreds of children died. The novel was awarded the Sándor Márai Prize. His third novel, »Másnap« (tr. Another Day), was published in the spring of 2011.
András Petőcz has obtained a Zsigmond Móricz Fellowship and a scholarship from the Soros Foundation. His awards include the Attila József Prize, the Salvatore Quasimodo Special Award, the UNESCO Aschberg Award and the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary. He lives in Budapest.
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