'I was born in Szentes on 9 March 1974, 40 years to the day after Yuri Gagarin came into the world. My mother told me that when I was a kid I wanted to be a heroic Soviet soldier, though they never put me to sleep with bread soaked in water. I don't know exactly where I went wrong in my life, but the facts speak for themselves: I grew up to be cowardly, Hungarian, and unfit for the army. I finished my high school studies at the Szamárdelelő Csárda, and after playing with the 2+1 wedding band, my... parents sent me off to get a Budapest university education - so I could spend the next five years sneering at dustmen in the Egri Tanszék bar at Zsigmond Móricz Square. It was in that pub that I came to the realisation that writers can get away with sleeping quite a lot. In that divine moment, I chose to set off down this rocky path.”
That excerpt from the Attila József, Miklós Mészöly and Fakanál Arany prize-winning writer gives us an idea of what we can expect from this evening with András Cserna-Szabó. The early-stage Half Three (1998), Fear and Loathing in Nagyhályog (2003), the stomach-obsessed short stories and gastronomy-essays of Levin's Road (2004), and Woe to the Vanquished, or Baking and Cooking when Hungover - The Novel of the Cat's Miaow with 52 Recipes (2007), written with Benedek Darida, the Great Book of the Cat's Miaow (2012), A Death Star Built on the Site of Your Heart (2015) and the most recently published story of an outlaw of the Great Hungarian Plains, Sömmi (2015): Cserna-Szabó is one of the most original and authentic voices of contemporary Hungarian literature. He defies the norms, generic constraints and expectations of traditional literature and his prose - be it story-writing, novels or 'gastro-thrillers' is incomparable, enjoyable, and liberating.
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