Der neue Bereich unseres Portals macht es sich zum Anliegen, die internationalen Literaturszenen Berlins zu kartographieren, die handelnden Personen und ihre Schauplätze sichtbar und zugänglich zu machen. 
Die Entstehung der Rubrik wurde durch eine Förderung des Hauptstadtkulturfonds ermöglicht. 

Mátyás Dunajcsik



Mátyás Dunajcsik in Berlin, 2023
© Foto © Peter Mate


Born: 9.12.1983
Birthplace: Budapest
Country of birth: Hungary
Lives in: Berlin, Schöneberg

Source language: English, German, French, Icelandic, Old Icelandic
Target language: Hungarian, English
Working language: German, English, Hungarian


Mátyás Dunajcsik is a queer writer and performer who writes prose, theater, and poetry in Hungarian, English, and more recently, German. He was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary, where he studied aesthetics (art theory) and French literature and worked in publishing. He emigrated in 2014 and initially spent two years in Reykjavík, where he studied Icelandic language and literature on a government scholarship, before settling in Germany. His literary work has been awarded numerous prizes in Hungary and several international fellowships, including the Young Academy of the Academy of Arts (2009, Berlin). In Hungarian, he published two collections of short stories and a children's book, which he later adapted for the stage himself. His first novel, Víziváros ("Water City"), came out in 2021, and his collected Hungarian poetry is scheduled for publication in late 2024.

German translations of his short stories have been published in: Der Boden unter Berlin (2010, Akademie der Künste, Berlin) and Unterwasserstädte (2017, Edition Solitude, Stuttgart). In 2019, he co-wrote the play Elbfuge with the internationally acclaimed Hungarian director Árpád Schilling, commissioned by the Staatsschauspiel Dresden. In recent years, thanks to working fellowships from the Academy of Arts (INITIAL, 2021) and the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony (2022), he has been intensively engaged in writing in German and has published his German-language poems in journals such as Sinn und Form, Signaturen, Ostragehege, and Triëdere. His first German-language poetry collection, Verlorene Gedichte, will be published by Parasitenpresse (Cologne) in September 2023. He lives in Berlin and works in the team of the Program Office of the Akademie der Künste. He often accompanies his literary readings with loop and effect pedals on his bass guitar.

Ich will alles wissen (long poem, Signaturen Magazin)
Das Überlebende (poem, Ostragehege)
Das Staatsgeförderte, Das Sprachlose (poems, Signaturen Magazin)
Meines Vaters Bibliothek (short story)
Überfahrt zum Lido (short story)

6 Questions

What brought you to Berlin? Love? World politics? Or was it a coincidence?

As my former homeland Hungary has slowly become a country where the complete destruction of all remaining institutions of independent culture belongs to the boring everyday as much as the misogyny, xenophobia and queerphobia artificially induced by state propaganda, there is no place there for me anymore, neither as a poet or as a queer person. Berlin has given me not just the freedom and resources to be who I am and write what I want without fear, but has also brought me together with the love of my life.

What do you love about Berlin?

What I like most about Berlin is that on the S-Bahn, the 70-year-old retiree from the GDR and the Danish expat hipster with the hand tattoos, the young Muslim girl with the stunning make-up and headscarf and the also scarved Christian nun, the Polish family with three kids and the gay Spanish couple in their rainbow T-shirts, the West Berlin yuppie flashing Gucci sandals and the booted street fighter with antifascist patches all travel side by side – and none of them feel it is an attack on their own person, identity and lifestyle that the person sitting next to them doesn't look exactly like themselves.

What do you miss in Berlin?

I miss the really hot thermal baths that make both Budapest and Reykjavík such wonderful cities to live in. But the Berlin lakes and canals are a bit of a consolation.

What is your favorite spot in Berlin?

The inner garden of the Akademie der Künste at Hanseatenweg. It was already my favourite place the first time I came to Berlin in 2009, as a fellow of the Junge Akademie, and had the chance to live three months in that wonderful building. Now, fourteen years later, I often have work meetings there as an employee of the Academy, but when we take an evening stroll through Tiergarten with my partner, we also often end up here for coffee and cakes. So it was especially magical when I had the honour of reading my poems under the garden's gigantic tree at the Poesiefestival Berlin 2023.

Would you say you are a different person in Berlin? A different translator? And if yes, in what way?

The poems I used to write in Hungarian were much more artistic, full of rhymes and rhythms, with each line deeply rooted in several hundred years of Hungarian literary tradition. The way I write nowadays in German in Berlin is much more direct, angry, shameless but also more free, more socially aware and more caring, much like the person I have become here.

Which existing literary work do you wish you had written?

Charles Baudelaire: Les Fleurs du mal Marcel Proust: À la recherche du temps perdu Allen Ginsberg: Howl Roberto Bolaño: Los perros románticos Nádas Péter: Emlékiratok könyve


04.2022 – 06.2022 | Work stipend in literature – Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen
10.2021 – 01.2022 | Special stipend INITIAL (Akademie der Künste), Literature
02.2019 – 03.2019 | ViceVersa: German-Hungarian Poetry Translation Workshop
10.2016 – 12.2016 | Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany
06.2013 – 09.2013 | Snorri Sturluson Fellowship, Reykjavík, Iceland
06.2009 – 10.2009 | Junge Akademie, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany


Publications in german

Publications in original language


Jelenkor / Budapest, 2021 Novel (in Hungarian)

Balbec Beach

Libri Kiadó / Budapest, 2012 Short stories (in Hungarian)

A szemüveges szirén

Kolibri / Budapest, 2016 Children's novel (in Hungarian)

Repülési kézikönyv

JAK-L'Harmattan / Budapest, 2007 Poems and short stories (in Hungarian)

Translated publications

Albert Camus: A bukás (La Chute / Der Fall)

Jelenkor / Budapest, 2020 Novel translated from the French

F. Scott Fitzgerald: Meghalnék érted (I’d Die For You / Für dich würde ich sterben)

Jelenkor / Budapest, 2017 Short stories translated from the English

Oscar Wilde: Dorian Gray képmása (The Picture of Dorian Gray / Das Bildnis des Dorian Gray)

Helikon / Budapest, 2014 Novel translated from the English

Vladimir Nabokov: Laura modellje (The Original of Laura / Das Modell für Laura)

Európa Kiadó / Budapest, 2009 Novel translated from the English

Trollok alkonya – három középkori történet Izlandról (Trollendämmerung – drei mittelalterliche Sagas aus Island. Bergbúa þáttr, Þorsteinns þáttr Uxafóts, Bárðar saga Snæfellsáss)

Helikon / Budapest, 2018 Sagas translated from Old Icelandic

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: A kis herceg (Le petit prince / Der kleine Prinz)

Pájer Donát e.v. / Budapest, 2015 Children's novel translated from the French

Alain Robbe-Grillet: Érzelmes regény (Un roman sentimental / Ein sentimentaler Roman)

Magvető / Budapest, 2009 Novel translated from the French

Fatou Diome: Az óceán gyomra (Le Ventre de l’Atlantique / Der Bauch des Ozeans)

Palatinus Kiadó / Budapest, 2005 Novel translated from the French