János Háy


János Háy

János Háy

János Háy, by his original name János Horváth (Vámosmikola, 1 April 1960 –) is a József Attila Prize winner Hungarian writer, poet, painter, illustrator, the founder of Palatinus Publishing House.

As a child the years spent in Vámosmikola were very influential for him, yet as of 1974, the beginning of his secondary school years, Budapest played the central role in his life. He immersed himself in the contemporary alternative culture of the capital and participated in events for the first time that had a great impact on his later work (musical and visual arts). He was attracted by literature in grammar school, however, bad grades (grade 2, that is a „D” in literature) dissuaded him from pursuing his higher education in this direction.

After a number of unsuccessful trials, he was admitted to Juhász Gyula Teacher Training College at the University of Szeged in 1981 with Russian and History majors, where he applied because of his then love and later wife who studied English at the institution.  In the same year János Háy founded his first and last rock music band, Originál Láger with his friends in Szeged, however, the band broke up within a year after recording a few demos. Although the writer gave up playing music, his enthusiasm for music remained to this day.

In 1985, upon finishing his higher educational studies, János Háy who had been publishing since 1982, launched a literary journal under the title ’Orange Heart Sonnet ’(Narancsszívszonett) with his friends. The samizdat only had eight issues. The year 1989 was a turning point in Háy János’s life from multiple aspects. This was when he gave up his teaching career, started to work as an editor for several publishers (Holnap, Pesti Szalon, Palatinus) where he edited up until 2004, and his first volume of poetry was also out in 1989 under the title Walk Towards You On The Footpath (Gyalog megyek hozzád sétálóúton). The volume closes the author’s writing period of 1976 -1985, and its famous opening line is: “A person named János Háy does not exist”. After Walk Towards You On The Footpath he published 17 books, including a novel titled Dzsigerdilen that brought him fame as a prose writer and a play Géza the kid / Child Géza (Gézagyerek) that  made him a recognized playwright.

Háy did not give up visual arts, his drawings and paintings were published on many occasions, moreover, he illustrates his books himself and prepares the covers. He graduated from Eötvös Loránd University’s Aesthetics Department as an adult, after his two children were born, and currently lives and works as a freelance writer in Budapest.

He worked at different places between 1978 and 1980. He has been publishing poems and prose since 1982. In 1985 he launched the Orange Heart Sonnet (Narancsszív-szonett) journal with Szilárd Podmaniczky and János Kurdy Fehér.

Between 1985 and 1988 he was a primary school teacher in Budapest.

Between 1989 and 1992 he was the editor of Holnap Book Publisher. Between 1993 and 1996 he worked as the editor of Pesti Szalon Book Publisher. Since 1997 he has been an associate at Palatinus Publishing House.