István Kemény: The one who speaks succinctly in a few words
– Hungary

Born in 1961, István Kemény is an author, poet and father to the poets Lili and Zsófi Kemény. He studied law for four years before moving over to ELTE where he earned a degree in the Hungarian language and history in 1990. He published his first book in 1984 and so far he has published twelve collections. Zoltán Németh described him as follows: “His poetic entry into the world of literature meant standing up to the world and rejecting the lyricism of the era, which he already considered dead. He stood against the Neo-Avant-Garde of the 1960s, earned his right to be ironic and, finally, in the new millennium he announced his programme to return to ordinary topics of public life.” Numerous critics consider Kemény to be one of the most important poets of his generation. Lajos Parti Nagy believes that “his poetry has shaped several generations, including his own and the ones that followed. He is a man who sets the benchmark, you can’t avoid him, although I wouldn’t say he stands in anybody’s way.” His first prose, the novella Az ellenség művészete (The Art of the Enemy) was published already in 1989. In 1997, he released his essays – originally published in the period from 1992 to 1996 in the Élet és Irodalom (Life and Literature) magazine – as a separate book. His first full-length novel Kedves Ismeretlen (Dear Unknown) was published in 2009.