Peter Esterhazy was born in 1950 in Budapest and is one of the most widely known contemporary Hungarian writers. His books are considered to be significant contributions to post-war literature. He studied mathematics at ELTE University in Budapest from 1969 to 1974. His first writings were published in literary journals in 1974.
Esterházy, the scion of an aristocratic family that traces its roots to the 12th century, is perhaps best known outside of his native country for Celestial Harmonies (Harmonia Caelestis, 2000) which chronicles his forefathers’ epic rise during the Austro-Hungarian Empire – when Haydn composed music at the family palace – to its dispossession under communism. His next novel, Revised Edition (Javított kiadás, 2002), which appeared as an “appendix” to the former work, was born from the shock of learning that his father was an informer for the secret police of the Communist era. The book deals with the son’s research work as a diary, unfolding his father’s activities and describing the process of Esterházy facing and digesting the facts.
His works have been published in more than 20 languages. He has been awarded numerous literary distinctions in Hungary including the prestigious Kossuth Prize in 1996, and has received an Order of Arts and Letters three times from France. He was also a recipient of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 2004.