GRAND NOVEL BUDAPEST
"Budapest is shaped by the mood of the people watching it. Come one, come all, make your Budapest!"
Péter Esterházy: A Look at Countess Hahn-Hahn (a quote in translation here)
The history of Budapest remains untold as long as there is a quest for one single story instead of collecting as many stories as there are and were locals and visitors who live(d) it, professional writers and literary laymen, who all can shape and tell its story.
Grand Novel Budapest is a continuously written story that attempts to show the diversity of Budapest’s narratives and cultural life and to revive literature before Budapest locals’ eyes over one and a half years, the length of the festival. It tells who we are and what we have become over the past one and a half centuries.
Local history will help us produce literary texts and performances.
This project is based on local stories and brings together oral history, literature and performing arts. From local perspectives to stories of neighbourhoods we approach the big picture. The aim is to tell the Budapest story by telling stories of the districts through family histories and present them in their respective settings.
Over the course of a year and a half, more and more districts will join the grand novel project to finally publish a diverse, multi-layered narrative that seeks not to delimit but to liberate the stories of Budapest.
"The shape of Budapest is determined by the mood of the person watching it.
Come one, come all, make your Budapest!"
Péter Esterházy: A Look at Countess Hahn-Hahn
The story of Budapest is untellable, because it is not one story, but as many as there were and are inhabitants, as many as live it, as many as are connected to it. Consequently, Budapest is not only narrated, but also created by us.
The concept of Grand Novel Budapest is based on the idea of giving writers and civilians space, so that anyone can tell their own Budapest story. Grand Novel Budapest is a story that is constantly being written, an attempt to show the diversity and layering of Budapest's stories and cultural life.
But it is also more than that: it is a literary experience that comes to life before the eyes of the city's inhabitants, telling the story of who we are and who we have become over the past one and a half centuries during this one and a half year long festival.
Text and performance from local history research
Our project, which will bring together local stories, oral history, literature and the performing arts, will approach the big picture from the perspective of the stories of the neighbourhoods. The aim is to tell the stories of Budapest's neighbourhoods through family histories and to present them in the places where the stories are told.
Over the course of a year and a half, more and more districts will join the grand narrative to finally publish a diverse, multi-layered narrative that aims to unlock the stories of Budapest.
23 popular contemporary writers have been invited to write the volume of Grand Novel Budapest. Based on real data of local history, each of them is writing the story of a district in a way that their plot, through connections of characters and time, will intertwine and become a 23-chapter experimental narrative. The writers, Imre Bartók, András Cserna-Szabó, György Dragomán, Mátyás Dunajcsik, Renátó Fehér, Krisztián Grecsó, János Háy, Orsolya Karafiáth, István Kemény, Zsófi Kemény, Noémi Kiss, Dénes Krusovszky, Réka Mán-Várhegyi, Gabriella Nagy, Gábor Németh, Márton Simon, Anna T. Szabó, Noémi Szécsi, Edina Szvoren, Andrea Tompa, Krisztina Tóth, Miklós Vámos and Péter Závada, are working on the birth of Grand Novel Budapest under István Tasnádi’s dramaturgical guidance