Péter Zilahy

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Péter Zilahy (born 1970 in Budapest) is a writer and performer whose prose and poetry has been widely translated and who has often used photography, interactive media and performance art in his work.

Literary work[edit]

His book of poems ''Statue Under White Sheet, Ready to Jump (original Lepel alatt ugrásra kész szobor)[1] was published in 1993.

His play, Der lange Weg nach nebenan (A hosszú út közelre), has been performed at the Volksbühne Berlin.[2]

His dictionary novel The Last Window-Giraffe (original: Az utolsó ablakzsiráf) was published in 1998 and has since been translated into 27 languages. He has had exhibitions at the Ludwig Museum Budapest and the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany.[3]

The Last Window-Giraffe[edit]

The Last Window-Giraffe is a memoir about the absurdity of everyday life under a dictatorship. It is written in the style of a children's dictionary reflected in the title Window-Giraffe (in Hungarian, Ablak=Window being the first item and Zsiráf=Giraffe being the last item in this A to Z). The dictionary explained the whole world in simple words, where everything was in order and problems were always solved.

The book also describes the events of the Belgrade protest in 1996-97 as being symbolic of all protests in its courage and absurdity. The book is filled with Zilahy's own photographs, and is an insight into the world behind the Iron Curtain.

Reviews of this work have appeared in the FAZ, The Independent, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, The Telegraph, and Die Welt.[4][5][6]

Journalistic work[edit]

Zilahy has written for many journalistic outlets, including The Guardian,[7][8][9] the New York Times,[10] and The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.[11]

Other work[edit]

Zilahy was editor-in-chief of Link Budapest, an Internet magazine for contemporary literature in English and Hungarian until 1999. He is the editor-in-chief of The World Literature Series.

Mr. Zilahy has held a wide range of artistic and literary residencies,[12][13] including a residency at the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress.[14]


  1. ^ Péter Zilahy. "Lepel alatt ugrásra kész szobor". Goodreads.
  2. ^ "Lesezone: Péter Zilahy "Der lange Weg nach nebenan." Szenische Lesung im Rahmen der Ungarischen Akzente-Premiere". Volksbuhne Berlin. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  3. ^ "Péter Zilahy - Akademie Schloss Solitude". Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  4. ^ Zilahy, Péter. "The Last Window-Giraffe". The Complete Review. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  5. ^ "Peter Zilahy: Die letzte Fenstergiraffe. Ein Revolutions-Alphabet (Buch)". Perlentaucher. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  6. ^ "Litera | Az irodalmi portál". www.litera.hu. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  7. ^ Zilahy, Péter (2011-12-17). "Young Hungarians are intent on writing their own future". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  8. ^ Zilahy, Péter (2011-01-14). "Hungary media law protest shows forbidden fruit remains sweet". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  9. ^ Zilahy, Péter (2008-06-14). "Péter Zilahy: Yes! And Tarzan scores for Hungary". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  10. ^ Zilahy, Peter (2012-01-13). "The Aftertaste of Goulash Communism". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  11. ^ Zilahy, Péter (2011-05-05). "Ungarns neue Verfassung: Vom Leben in magischen Zeiten". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). ISSN 0174-4909. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  12. ^ "Working in Einstein's house". Hungarian Literature Online. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  13. ^ "Peter Zilahy: Entführt in einer geteilten Stadt. Die Presse.com". Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  14. ^ Reker, Mary Lou (August 5, 2015). "International Performances Here and Abroad". Insights: Scholarly Work at the John W. Kluge Center. Library of Congress.

External links[edit]