Thursday 20 October 2016, 6.30pm
Monnet Room, Europe House
32 Smith Square, London SW1P 3EU
Children of the Revolution – British writers of Hungarian origin
Monica Porter, Tibor Fischer and Nick Barlay
Historian: Dorottya Baczoni
Moderator: Robin Ashenden
To mark the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian revolution, the Hungarian Cultural Centre organizes a roundtable discussion. Monica Porter, Tibor Fischer and Nick Barlay, whose Hungarian parents fled to the United Kingdom in 1956, will describe how their writings have been shaped by the revolution. The discussion will be moderated by Robin Ashenden, founder and editor of Central and Eastern European London Review. The historical perspective will be provided by Dorottya Baczoni, historian of the House of Terror Museum in Budapest.
Monica Porter was born in Budapest in 1952, to parents who were well-known figures in Hungarian cultural life – her mother, Vali Rácz, was a popular singer and film actress, and her father, Péter Halász, a writer and journalist. After the uprising was crushed her family fled to New York in 1956. Based in London since 1970, Monica is the author of five books and a freelance journalist who has written for dozens of British newspapers and magazines, as well as being a long-standing contributor to the Daily Mail. Her first book, The Paper Bridge: A Return to Budapest, was published in 1981 on the 25th anniversary of the revolution. In it she explores her Hungarian roots and her relationship with the city of her birth, and relates her intriguing encounters with fellow Hungarians of all generations and from all walks of life.
Tibor Fischer was born in Stockport in 1959. His first novel, Under the Frog (on the subject of the Hungarian revolution) was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1993. He is the author of four other novels, The Thought Gang, The Collector Collector, Voyage to the End of the Room and Good to be God as well as a collection of short stories Don’t Read This Book If You’re Stupidand a monograph on Viktor Orbán, The Hungarian Tiger. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, his work has been published in twenty-five languages.
Nick Barlay is the author of four widely acclaimed novels, including Hooky Gear. He was mentioned in Granta’s ‘Best of Young British Novelists’ in 2003. Barlay was born in London to Hungarian Jewish refugee parents. His first non-fiction book, Scattered Ghosts, is the story of his family over two centuries. It was long-listed for the Wingate Prize 2015. He has also written short stories, award-winning radio plays and wide-ranging journalism, including a long-running series about London for The Times. He regularly teaches creative writing and journalism, as well as Guardian Masterclasses on writing family history.
Dorottya Baczoni received her B.A. degrees in History and French from Eötvös Loránd University in 2012 and in International Studies from Corvinus University of Budapest in 2013 respectively. She graduated with an M.A. in History with a Modern Hungarian History specialization from Eötvös Loránd University in 2014. She is currently a PhD student at the same institution. She has worked for the House of Terror Museum since 2009. As of 2014 she has been a team leading historian.
Robin Ashenden is founder and editor of Central and Eastern European London Review, a website which from May 2014 has given coverage and promotion to CEE cultural events in London. He has an MA in Soviet Travel Writing and worked for several years as a freelance travel journalist (Sunday Times Travel & Wanderlust), specialising in Central and Eastern Europe. In April 2016 he was producer and presenter of Chernobyl 30 at Frontline Club, a day of screenings, readings and discussions to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.
Free entry but registration is required on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sponsored by the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight 60th Anniversary Memorial Board.