Born on 29th March, 1976 in Szentes, Hungary Noémi Szécsi started her university studies in Budapest in 1994. She graduated from English and Finnish in 2001/2002. 

In 2000 she studied cultural anthropology and gender studies at the Christina Institute in Helsinki. She wrote her first novel, Finno-Ugrian Vampire during her stay in Finland. The script based on the novel participated the Sundance Scriptwriters’ Workshop in Prague in November 2001.   

The novel was first printed in 2002 and reprinted in 2003. Eurofilm Studio acquired the film rights in 2002. The Polish translation of the novel was published by Czarne in 2005. 

In 2001-2002 she had completed a course on journalism and started writing for various magazines between 2002-2004. Her blog about the ups and downs of pregnancy was published as a book in 2003. It was reprinted several times and got a prize from the readers of Elle magazine.    

Her second novel Communist Monte Cristo was published in 2006 by Tericum. The novel was awarded the European Union Prize For Literature in 2009.  (EUPL-winners of 2009, and the webpage of the prize)

In 2009 Noémi Szécsi published a novel about present-day anarchists under the title of Last Centaur. In 2010 she was the writer-in-residence of Het beschrijf in Brussels. In 2011 she received the state decoration 'József Attila díj' for literary achievement. Her most recent novel, The Restless (Nyughatatlanok), is published by Publishing House Európa.

"I like being an outsider..." Interview with Noémi Szécsi on Hungarian Literature Online

Fiction

Finno-Ugrian Vampire (Finnugor vámpír, 2002, JAK-Kijárat)

Jerne Voltampere’s Grandmother doesn’t look her age, but she is 284 years old. She looks like a young woman. No wonder, as every night she sucks the blood of assorted men. She is a vampire and wants her grandchild to follow the family tradition.
Her Granddaughter, Jerne has just returned to Budapest after a posh education at an English college, Winterwood. Reincarnations of the Bronte sisters taught her to write fairy tales. Jerne writes children’s books, but they are considered too bloody to be published. Her Grandmother is adamant: Jerne will have to give up her literary ambitions and become a vampire. In the meanwhile, she takes an undemanding job as an editor. But the married couple who run the publishing house behave more and more suspiciously.
This is a story of death and the afterlife told by a witty and irresistible narrator. The first Budapest vampire story from the home country of Béla Lugosi.


"younger generation, writers such as Noémi Szécsi, are reacquainting themselves with the principle of entertaining the reader” Tibor Fischer in the Guardian

“a linguistic tour-de-force and play on myths” - Rosie Goldsmith, BBC journalist and presenter of Crossing Continents

“Noémi Szécsi is at the heart of the new generation of Hungarian authors”  - Goodreads.com

A review in the Guardian by Tibor Fischer: Hungary for blood.

A review by M. A. Orthofer: "Appealing Hungarian tale from literary-vampiric angle".

Caroline Sanderson's review on bookoxygen.com: "witty and clever piece".

Richard W. Jackson's review on bookgeeks.co.uk: "...the novel takes no prisoners...

Michael A. Morrison, World Literature Today: "...belongs at the top of your 'must-read' list"

Zsuzsanna Varga in Times Literary Supplement: "...authors feed on each other just as voraciously as do bloodsuckers on the living"



Communist Monte Cristo (Kommunista Monte Cristo, 2006. Tericum) European Union Prize for Literature 2009

Sanyi, a handsome vegetarian butcher and assistant labourer of the Communist Party has nothing left but his syphilis after the fall of the 1919 proletarian revolution. Gingerly manouvering in politics he still survives somehow the bloody decades of Hungarian history up until 1956. The novel – ironically speaking the language of contemporary journalism and demagoguism – turns upside down the elements of the original Monte Cristo-story, for it is not about revenge but the stupidity of all-time politics.

It is being translated into several languages, but it has already been published in Serbian (Komunista Monte Cristo, 2011, Zavet) and Macedonian (Комунистот Монте Кристо, 2011, ILI-ILI ).

Excerpt from part 3.

Hungarian Quarterly on Communist Monte Cristo

Hungarian Literature Online on Communist Monte Cristo


Last Centaur (Utolsó kentaur, 2009, Ulpius)

Four young students – messengers by day, anarchists by night – rebel without a cause, without a real result.

’Snapshots of Budapest’s permanent hangover after the change of regime’ (Exit)


The Restless (Nyughatatlanok, 2011, Európa)

After ’the spring of the nations’ the flotsam of revolutions of 1848-49 covered Europe, especially the liberal cities of the period. Hungarian emigration had London and Paris as its main headquarters, but many fled to Brussels famous for its free atmosphere.

As for the others, due to a pact between Vienna and the Ottoman Empire thousands of Hungarian, Polish and Italian refugees were given political asylum in Turkey, but after revolutionary leader Lajos Kossuth and his retinue had left for the United Sates in September 1851, the others were also free to leave. The majority did leave, mostly for the USA, London, Paris. Some of them entered into Ottoman service, mostly during the Crimean War of 1854-55. A significant share of the forty-eighters became professional freedom fighters, fighting for the unity of Italy by Garibaldi’s side, or in the Civil War of the US.

The craze for levitation and spiritism spread like wildfire among the fanatics, the obsessive and those who had lost heart – a symptom of the psychological crisis of emigré society which often took refuge in the irrational. In 1853 the American fad of table-moving swept Hungary especially vehemently because the people desperately wanted to know the whereabouts of their family members in exile. They called the ghosts of dead martyrs of the reprisal and asked them what destiny awaited for Hungary.

The Crimean War raises hope within the exile community. For different reasons refugees and their persecutors share a common expectation of a new revolutionary outbreak. The emigrants live in artificial and psychologically stressful circumstances, so they – the ones who have second sight – start to see ghosts everywhere.

The main locations are Paris and Brussels, other episodes taking place in Transylvania, Biarritz, Marseilles and Ostende the story is complete with a portrait gallery of 19th century emigration: besides a resigned Hungarian nobleman and his ‘I-have-seen-better-days’ wife, some Polish and Hungarian freedom fighters, English ladies, French prostitutes and – Austrian spies.


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Szécsi Noémi siteadmin,
2011. nov. 18. 0:14
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