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Magdafest 2019 – Celebrating the Life Works of Magda Szabó

In 2017, the Csokonai Theater in Debrecen organized a festival to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Hungarian novelist, Magda Szabó, Hungary’s most translated author. The festival audience experienced productions inspired by the novelist.

Although Magda Szabó has had a long history as an author, internationally she is most recognised for her book “The Door“, which was named one of ten best books of the year in 2015 by The New York Times Book Review.

  • In 1947, she published two volumes of poetry, Bárány (The Lamb), and Vissza az emberig (Return to Man), awarded the Baumgartner Prize in 1949 for this work.
  • Her first novel, Freskó (Fresco), came out in 1958
  • Az őz (The Fawn) 1959.
  • Katalin utca (Katalin Street, 1969),
  • Ókút (The Ancient Well, 1970),
  • Abigél (Abigail, 1970), considered her most widely read book.
  • Régimódi történet (An Old-Fashioned Tale, 1971)
  • Az ajtó (The Door, 1987).

In addition to her many books, Szabó also wrote verse for children, plays, short stories, and nonfiction. A member of the European Academy of Sciences and a warden of the Calvinist Theological Seminary in Debrecen, Szabó passed away in 2007 in her home town of Debrecen where she was born in 1917.

Debrecen aims to preserve her memory and preserve the heritage of Magda Szabó. In addition to celebrating the work of Magda Szabó, the festival was conceived with a tradition-building purpose, to be kept and organized each year.

This year, in line with its original goals, the festival focuses on female creators, who are also unique “voices” of the theater both present and past.

Magdafest takes place in the Csokonai Theater, here, visitors can see are countless performances and participate in roundtables, enjoy city walks, a cinema marathon as well as memorial tours.

Some highlights of the III. MagdaFeszt

  • October 1,  7 p.m., Daniel Glattauer: Couples Therapy. The work is about a couple that has lost the excitement from their relationship. The situation is familiar: something is lost forever, and before making a final decision, the couple turns to a specialist for a final attempt. The therapist gets to work and we can see frenetic situations, amusing turns, and surprises.
  • October 2, Péter Gemza, the director of the Csokonai Theater talks with the authors of the Libri group including Éva Péterfy-Novák, Éva Szentesi, Judit Hidas, and Noémi Szécsi. The “Women at the Market Roundtable” begins at 5 pm at the Csokonai Theater, which is free to attend.
  • October 3, a special movie marathon awaits everyone interested in the “Night of the Women Movie Directors” in Apollo Cinema.  You can see the following movies “On Body and Soul” (5 PM), “One day” (7:30 PM) and “Aurora Borealis – Northern Lights” (9:30 PM).


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