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Márta Józsa
( 1962 )


Born in Cluj, Romania - Kolozsvár in Hungarian – previously part of Hungary’s province of Transylvania, on January 26, 1962.
She settled to Hungary in 1983.
She graduated from Janus Pannonius University at the Faculty of Humanities in Pécs.
She began writing in the secondary grammar school in Cluj. At the beginning of the nineties she wrote reports and publicism again for the main hungarian newspapers and weekly magazins.
Her first works in fiction were published in 1998.
From 2000 she has been the editor of Ex Symposion. She also works for the Hungarian television as an editor in cultural topics.
Her first novel was published in 2007: Amíg a nagymami megkerül. (As long as Grandma Turns up)

Until Granny is Found

Coming from the ethnic Hungarian community of Transylvania (she was born in Cluj-Kolozsvár, Romania), and already well known for her work as a television and literary editor, Márta Józsa, like the Granny of the title of her book—one of the most refreshing and original works of 2007—could be said to have been found. She has fashioned an incident-packed and perky epic format, spiked with references both forwards and backwards in time and with footnotes, within which the acts of remembering, and the summoning up of memories, the finding and cleaning-up of souvenirs, the incursion into the world of childhood in itself, are not only instructive but also amusing and enthralling. Itself set in Transylvania, and hence Romania, the book is one of the most fascinating reads to have been published in recent years. The trick that Márta Józsa accomplishes is to run the main text and footnotes separately and yet , a bit like Péter Esterházy first showed in Termelési-regény (‘Production-Line Novel’)—his 1979 novel, which as yet has still not appeared in English (or, indeed, German or French) translation—and the author does in fact employ quotations from Esterházy. Kept in motion at the various levels as it is, this approach to telling stories proves a distinctly useful way of acquainting readers, through a voice that is both striking and convincingly authentic, with the qualities and mundane oddities of existence in the ethnic Hungarian (or more specifically: Hungarian Roma/Gypsy) community of Transylvania. From the book one can learn, for instance, what it used to mean to celebrate the onset of the New Year one hour later, going by local time, than elsewhere in Romania; or in other words, what it is like to live in two time zones, two worlds, which are nevertheless one. And what being a Romany speaker actually means. By doing so, Márta Józsa manages to break with stereotypes and prejudices that are based on exclusion.

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