Ferenc Szijj
Ferenc Szijj was born in Szombathely, Hungary, in 1958. After studying Hungarian studies and German, he worked as a secondary school teacher, librarian and the editor of the literary magazine Nappali Ház. After the magazine had been disbanded, Szijj edited an Internet magazine and worked as a translator from German. His literary debut was in 1990 with the volume of poetry "A lassú élet titka" (The Secret of Living Slowly). This was followed by short prose pieces "A futás napja" (1992, The Day of the Race), and the poetry collections "A nagy salakmez?" (1997; Great Field of Ashes) and "Kéregtorony" (1999; Bark Tower).

Szijj maintains that he would have liked to be an engine driver or a football player – but because of his weak eyes he was compelled, in the end, to earn his living under poor lighting conditions: by writing. However, this activity triggered a "vicious circle of seeing". "I do not feel like a true poet, who writes one poem after another and can only think in poetry. I have never been particularly attracted by perfect stylistic form. In fact, I would go even further: these days I am not particularly interested in grammatical correctness, either – although I do, if this doesn't sound too immodest, know a lot about grammar and about how to employ language – as a user."

Szijj has received numerous prizes for his work, including the "Children's Book of the Year" from the Hungarian section of the IBBY and the "Book of the Year" (category children's book); he has also received two Soros fellowships.