Author's page

Domokos VARGA
( 1922 - 2002 )

Biography

1922 born in Kunszentmiklóson
receives a forestry engineer's diploma in Sopron
1946 works as a journalist
works at the Hungarian Rádió, contributor to the Irodalmi Újság (Literary Journal) and Élet és Irodalom (Life and Literature)
Editor of the literary TV-show Lyukasóra
2002 is awarded the Kossuth Prize "for his keenly perceptive literary achievement, with special focus on his textbooks written for children, and his writings depicting the importance of family values serving as conserving force for the national thought"
2002 dies in Budapest

Awards
1973 Attila József Award
1986 IBBY Award
1992 Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic - Commander Cross
1997 János Arany Award
1998 Gáspár Károli Award
2002 Kossuth Award

Remembering our ancestors
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From the Ural to the changing of regime? Domokos Varga, an exceptional teacher, undertook the immense goal of writing the history of Hungarians for children, from the founding of the state up to the present. The book is very well structured, the author chose a style resembling the tone of children's tales and old chronicles, and besides depicting the important historical moments, he also finds time to discuss such minor but important issues as King Mathias' thoughts concerning his lineage or the prison activities of Lajos Kossuth. Besides introducing heroes and historical figures to his young readers, the author manages to present an image of the complex political problems determining the development and the geographical unity of the country. The volume also includes a great number of interesting historical texts.

Kidtaster
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This volume of short stories is about the joys and problems of living in a large family, with lots of laughs, anecdotes and irony. Keeping up with the tradition of his work, the writer shows the readers that all problems may be solved by love. This is the most important lesson to be learned from this volume, and this selfless optimism must be the reason behind Domokos Varga's popularity. In his speech delivered on the inauguration of the memorial at the writer's house, Tibor Gyurkovics called him a barefooted prophet of poverty, a protestant monk "who could step over mountains and valleys and would journey on towards greater truths". The memorial honours the teacher, father and writer: "This is the house where Domokos Varga, father of the "Kutyafülüek" lived and created his many books."

You Dog-eared Pack!
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The writer began working on this volume while imprisoned after the 1956 Revolution. The book is about his six children, and continues to be his most popular work. "The father stepping in front of us from Domokos Varga's book, the father called Domokos Varga must be esteemed, loved and admired. The figure of a very significant father emerges. (...) The subject of the book is the family. The large family. This subject is well known to me, both from below and above, I have been one of four brothers (We even had an uncle calling us dog-eared) and now I am a parent with four children. There is a lot I know about this, and there is a lot I do not know about this (I do not know what I do know). I am not of an envious nature, but still this book I envy. I would really like to be the author of this nice little book. (...) I know these stories (we all do) about the swallowed pennies, buttons, berries, wedding rings, I know the children's suffering (in which they are equal to any adult), all the secret night weeping, the open hollering tears, all the nervous anger, the way children are able to suddenly get out of this world, I know all of it. (...) Domokos Varga speaks openly, without taking cover. He even shows us the secret language of the family, without any anxiety or second thoughts, this can be embarrassing, especially the secret language of the adults, children are better at this, they do not try to be too sweet. But he manages to tackle this obstacle without us seeing him waver. There is a great equilibrium so to speak behind the text, the book talks about this. The book is not just good reading, but good remembrance, thinking back on it, it seems to be somewhat bigger and more adventurous, other readings and personal memories are mixed into it. A good book works this way; it grows and moves around in us (while we sleep)". (Péter Esterházy)

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