THE 1st BUDAPEST DEBATE ON EUROPE - December 1, 2012


Press release, November 22, 2012


"What really matters" – The Budapest Debate on Europe


György Konrád, Andrei Pleşu, Michael Krüger, Robert Menasse and many other authors from Hungary, Romania, Germany, Serbia and Austria are gathering in Budapest on December 1 to talk about what they really consider to be at stake in the effort to resist losing elements of the European culture of freedom and togetherness in times of crisis, widespread Euro-scepticism and the resurgence of resentment and nationalism.

Europe: A success story which for many years defined the very idea of community but which now, especially thanks to the news emerging from the various crisis summits in Brussels, is fading from memory. The European project had its origins in the desire to learn the right lessons from the murderous catastrophes of the 20th century. The founding generation used the idea of peaceful coexistence and common social and economic progress to counter ingrained nationalistic tendencies and national resentments. Yet the common cultural and social foundations of Europe are increasingly being threatened by anti-European feeling, xenophobic slogans and the militant recourse to national myths. It is for this reason that authors from seven countries are gathering in Budapest on December 1 to talk about their crucial concerns - as citizens of their towns or cities and of their states, as citizens of Europe, as friends and colleagues.

The event will take place on Saturday December 1 2012 at 4 pm in the Petöfi Literary Museum Budapest (Budapest, V. Károlyi Mihály u. 16.).

4 pm

Readings:             Virág Erdős author (Hungary),

                            Zsuzsanna Gahse essayist, translator (Switzerland),

                            Endre Kukorelly author (Hungary),

                            Gábor Németh author (Hungary),

                            Lajos Parti Nagy author (Hungary),

                            Ilma Rakusa essayist, translator (Switzerland),

                            Christina Viragh author, translator (Italy)

5 pm

Opening :              György Konrád, author (Hungary)

Podium guests:     Michael Krüger, publisher and author (Germany)

                            Robert Menasse, author (Austria)

                            Ákos Szilágyi, poet and essayist (Hungary)

                            János Háy, author (Hungary)

Facilitator:             Gábor Csordás, translator and author, Visegrad literary resident

6.30 pm

Discussion:           second society, national myths, problems and challenges:
                            globalization, social tensions 

Facilitator:             Gábor Csordás, translator and author, Visegrad literary resident
(Hungary) and Viktor Horváth, Visegrad literary resident


"The Budapest Debate on Europe" marks the continuation of discussions held in May 2012 during the spring conference of the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung (German Academy of Language and Poetry) entitled "Über die Verletzbarkeit von Sprache und Dichtung" ("On the vulnerability of language and poetry"). At the same time it follows in the tradition of the "Debates on Europe" which have been taking place under the patronage of the Allianz Kulturstiftung since 2006. Finally, the S. Fischer Stiftung has made mutual understanding between the languages and cultures of central Europe into a central plank of its work with wideranging translation programmes in Russia, Poland, Turkey and southern Europe.

The three institutions have joined forced with partners in Hungary for "The Budapest Debate on Europe": the "Belletrist Society" (Szépírók Társasága) independent writers' association, the European Cultural Foundation Budapest and Lettre International Hungary. The Budapest debates on Europe will continue at 8pm on December 5, 2012 in the Allianz Forum Berlin. Similar events in Romania and Serbia are planned for 2013.

An event organised by the Allianz Kulturstiftung, the S. Fischer Stiftung, the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung, the Belletrist Society Hungary, the European Cultural Foundation Budapest and Lettre International (Hungary).


Allianz Kulturstiftung:

Michael M. Thoss, +49 (0)30/2091 573130;;

Deutsche Akademie fur Sprache und Dichtung:

Dr. Bernd Busch, +49 (0)6151/40920;;

S. Fischer Stiftung:

Antje Contius, +49 (0)30 /275 82 83 0;

Lettre International, Hungary:

Éva Karádi, +36 30 515 4035,

European Cultural Foundation, Budapest:

Judit Rajk,  +36 20 9414167,,

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