Norbert György started studying Hungarian language, literature and aesthetics at the Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra in 1994. He did not finish his studies. In 2004 the Hungarian publishing house NAP published his debut novel Klára, which received a special recognition from the Imre Madách Prize. His other works have been awarded as well.
He first began to work as a literary translator when the Hungarian magazine Lettre Internationale asked for a translation. He has translated into Hungarian works by distinguished Slovak fiction writers such as Balla, Víťo Staviarsky, Ivana Dobrakovová and Michal Havran, and poets, e.g. Mila Haugová, Katarína Kucbelová, Michal Habaj and Vlado Janček.
In 2015 he was a recipient of the Visegrad Literary Residency in Budapest. He has published four books in translation: Víťo Staviarsky: Fekete cipők, fehér fűzővel (Kale topanky / Dirty Shoes, Noran Libro, 2016); Jaroslav Rumpli: Gabonakörök (Kruhy v obilí / Crop Circles, Typotex, 2016); Ivana Dobrakovová: Toxo (Noran Libro, 2017); and Ivana Dobrakovová: Anyák és kamionsofőrök (Matky a kamionisti / Mothers and Lorry Drivers, Typotex, 2021). He received a grant and a TROJICA AIR translation residency for the latter in 2021. You can watch an interview with him and author Ivana Dobrakovová on our You Tube channel.
At the beginning of 2021 he recorded a Translation Diary, available here. A traditional part of the residency is a public talk between author and translator. The event moderated by Dado Nagy took place on November 11th and introduced Ivan Medeši and Norbert György together with publisher Maroš Volovár. Below you will find an excerpt from Michal Kríž’s interview with the translator printed in the newspaper Štiavnické noviny.
You are translating Ivan Medeši. In what way is his book interesting to you, a translator? How can it capture the attention of Hungarian readers?
Ivan Medeši’s Eating presents a curiosity within the Slovak literary milieu. For one thing, it has been written in the language of the Rusyns of Vojvodina and published solely in Slovak translation. Maroš Volovár both translated and published the book. Another reason is its use of a bizarre, grotesque and liberatingly vulgar language and thematic arsenal that is quite unusual for Slovak fiction. The same can be said about the Hungarian literary world; this kind of precise, not self-serving rawness is hard to find there, too. That’s why I think it is precisely this book that has the potential to capture the attention of the Hungarian reader.
Did the conditions in Banská Štiavnica and the town itself suit your challenging intellectual work?
The conditions here are ideal for a translator to delve into his work. The apartment is quiet and comfortable, and the historical scenery of autumnal Banská Štiavnica adds value. You cannot grow tired of that. A big thank-you to LIC and to the town for creating such an opportunity for translators.