Zita Murányi, born in Budapest on January 17, 1982, is a distinguished Hungarian writer and poet whose literary prowess has left an indelible mark. Her evocative poems have graced the pages of esteemed literary magazines such as Mozgó Világ, Élet és Irodalom, Jelenkor, Bárka, and Népszabadság. In recognition of her talent, she was awarded the prestigious Sándor Bródy Prize in 2004 for her debut work, the captivating novella “Tükörpalota” (Mirror Palace), originally published in 2003. Zita holds a degree in communication from the University of Szeged and has since added to her literary legacy with three books of poetry and three novels in Hungarian, with On Mr. Darcy’s Sofa marking her debut novel in English.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Jane Austen says in Sense and Sensibility that language cannot express our true feelings. I chose this sentence as the motto of the novel. The uniqueness of the book, apart from telling a story in the light of the chosen motto, is that it also deals with the nature of language and does so through intertextuality. I try to enhance or alienate the power of expression by mixing several styles. The different parts of the text interlock and reinforce each other. For example, the text of a story read to Presser’s child, which turns out to have been written by his father, becomes an integral part of the novel, and also has a function of ease difficult life events. The story world will provide a refuge from hardship. As English is a second language for me, it is particularly interesting for me to work with language as a mediator.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The loss of an old friend supplies the starting point for the novel, but as in all my previous works, the story builds around personal and consciously selected seeds of life, in which fantasy plays as dominant a role as living. If I were to describe only what happened, it would be more of a memoir than a novel. However, if it is read as an autobiography, I am happy because I know that I have managed to write something that is believable.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes, that after every blow we have enough strength to get up. That no matter what life tries us with, we must never give up. But at the same time, I show that suffering cannot be avoided, it must be endured, it must be dealt with. It has a place in our lives, an important character-building role.
How do you come up with names for your characters?
Interestingly, it always comes naturally to me, like a hunch. In this case, the protagonist’s name is Penelope, which is a deliberate reference to Homer, since, when I am dealing with the nature of language, it is inevitable that I do not refer to the ancient epics that laid down the way in which stories were told. And, of course, the name and character of Darcy, who is derived from Jane Austen and inseparable from her, appears again and again in the novel.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Of my many favourites, I would probably choose Charles Bukowski. I find his style very enjoyable and readable, although he is also quite outspoken. He has a simplicity and lightness of touch that is characteristic of the greatest.
What are your current projects?
I’m polishing a teenage novel about the power of friendship, first love and the pitfalls of a modelling career. Hopefully it will see the light of day next year. And I’m also working on a more scientific esoteric work on the Akashic Chronicle.
What books/authors have influenced your writing?
My writing influenced mainly Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, but also those from whom I have borrowed a quote or two before the chapters, such as Oscar Wilde or Virginia Woolf.
What is your favorite theme/genre to write about?
My favourite subject is family and I like to explore human relationships, mostly in contemporary literary fiction.
Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why?
I would like to meet Colin Firth, not only because I think he is an excellent actor and a very intelligent man, but also because his 2003 short story, edited by Nick Hornby, influenced my novel. In it, he draws attention to the importance of fairy tales and does so with a very strong literary vein. I am absolutely fascinated.
If you had to give up either snacks and drinks during writing sessions, or music, which would you find more difficult to say goodbye to?
Music has such a strong influence on me that it often takes me away from my subject when I’m writing, so I’ve given up listening it voluntarily. What I cannot give up is coffee, Balzac also drank a lot of it, and zero coke. Caffeine is an excellent brain-booster for me. Even in kindergarten, my sign was a coffee mug.
Find Zita Muranyi online at
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