Award-winning Magris speaks about multiple bonds to Hungary
Hungary is "the gate to the world beyond my own world of Italy and Germany", multiple award winning Italian writer Claudio Magris said in an interview to MTI after receiving the Budapest Award at the city's 19th Book Festival launched on Thursday.
The Trieste-born author, who won international acclaim for his novel "Danube: A Sentimental Journey from the Source to the Black Sea", is the guest of honour at this year's International Book Festival and Fair, which opened in Budapest on Thursday afternoon.
"The family name of my wife, Marisa Madieri, could be indicating her Hungarian descent; her father, born in what is today Varazdin in northern Croatia, used to even speak Hungarian," Magris told MTI in an interview.
He said that during the time past a strong bond had developed with Hungary through friendships and visits, which, together with the cultural experience gained had served as great inspiration in writing the Danube novel.
Describing the exact moment of inspiration, Magris said it was in 1982 during an excursion with his wife and friends on a sunny September day in Austria's Fischamend that he spotted a sign showing the way to the Danube Museum.
"It was then that my wife said we could go along the Danube all the way to the Black Sea. So I had been travelling and writing the book for the next four years along the Danube, which was for me the symbol of Central Europe, of a Babelian world," Magris said.
Magris, a Nobel hopeful, on Thursday met the audience at the festival in the company of Hungary's Peter Esterhazy and received later Budapest's main award from Mayor Istvan Tarlos.
His works published in Hungarian also include A Different Sea, Microcosmoses and his latest book Blindly.
See photos on the launching ceremony of the 19th Book Festival with Claudio Magris and Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbo.