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1949 (10th May) born in Budapest (originally called Kertész)
1968-1973 graduates as a stage director form Theatre and Motion Picture Training School
1971- present stage director at the theatres of Kaposvár and Szolnok
1974-1978 works for the Youth Department of the Hungarian Radio, until dismissed
1979-1981 works for the Pannónia Film Studio
1981-1983 on a playwright's scholarship from Vígszínház; script editor for the Szigligeti Theatre, Szolnok
1984-1985 has a contract at a Budapest District Council as a social worker
1984-1989 assistant script editor for Vígszínház, assistant director for Mafilm Film Studio
1989-1991 script editor for Vígszínház
1991- present art advisor for József Katona Theatre
1973-1989 takes part in the work of the Democratic Opposition, initiates the samizdat Journal
1991- present spokesman for the Democratic Charta
1996- present art advisor for Vígszínház

His prizes include:
1986 Tibor Déry Award, 1987 Book of the Year Award, 1989 Attila József Prize, For the Literature of the Future Prize, 1992 The Soros Foundation's Oeuvre Prize, 1995 The Soros Foundation's Literature Prize, 1999 Ernő Szép Award

At Last You Seem to Be Alive

In his stories Kornis portrays the world of a child growing up in the 1950s who feels uncomfortable in his half-understood and half-frightening surroundings and tries desperately to conform, to hide in the commonplaces of the adults. The adult world is also infiltrated by falsity and fear as it is obvious from the story about the pioneer camp. Kornis's texts can be characterized by frequent changes or projections of viewpoints and the dislocation of registers. Upon the new publication, György Kálmán C. noted, "if at the time it was the book's grotesque tone or inclination towards the absurd, or its peculiarly Budapest microcosm which struck its readers, /.../ it might now be worth noticing the desperate, tragic and passionately emphatic traits of this prose, which all are coloured and overwritten and questioned by Kornis s incontestable sense of humour and his horror of sentimentality or melodrama."

Sun Book. The Hero of Our Story

In this peculiar diary-novel, Kornis has shattered the conventions of the genre, assembling a montage of texts of the most different types, styles, origins and narrators, mixing family history with the narrator's contemporary diary, the child's anguish with the adult's uncertainty and misery, devoted faith with blasphemy, vulgarity with pathos. The book opens with the narrator's two visits in the Jewish cemetery, one in childhood, one as an adult, this way portraying what is never openly discussed, i.e. Jewish fate and identity, the reality half-guessed and half-misunderstood by the child, and the search for the past that the adult man has inherited. Kornis's fiction has the immediacy of a personal voice, while his conscious subjectivity and his irony are characteristically his own.


When Kornis's imagination creates a language of his own, he draws upon the fragmentary texts stored in our common memory, the lore of commonplaces. In his plays, just as in the theatre of East-European absurd, a grotesque quality arises from the coexistence of the tragic and the comic, the everyday and the high-flown, the sacred and the profane and the realistic and the irrational. Kornis creates his own urban mythology; 'Hallelujah' for instance stands for the myth of the man in the street from Budapest, who is at the mercy of history; 'Kozma' could be the anti-myth of the failure and impossibility of redemption, or again, the Kafkaesque vision of 'Punishments' may well be the myth of the lonely Middle-European artist.

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