Zoltán Danyi

Writer in Residence
Period of Stay: 
February - June 2024
Project Title: 
Root Shock
Project Abstract: 

My new novel questions why someone stays in a country where the circumstances of everyday life have radically changed for the worse. This question is posited through reflections on the experiences of a protagonist who is blessed and cursed to call two countries his home: Serbia and Hungary, yet feels increasingly alienated in both. Although he belongs to the ethnic Hungarian minority in Serbia, because of his occupation for some twenty years he has been dividing his time between the historically and culturally strongly related, yet different contexts of Vojvodina and Budapest. The past decade’s changes in the Hungarian and Serbian political and public discourse, such as historical revisionism or the exclusionary reframing of womanhood and manhood, make him feel out of place, even unsafe, still he is relentlessly devoted to finding arguments for staying on. As if on a quest, he starts to seek out people with very different social positions, views, and backgrounds to learn about their reasons for staying – or for leaving. Through his experiences I want to dig deep into the present condition of Serbian and Hungarian societies, including the local particularities of the nationalism franchise that spreads in Europe.


(Photo © Suhrkamp Verlag)