The volume, called Dear Kumacs: Letters to Eva Haldimann, contains 165 letters exchanged between Szabó and Haldimann between 1970 and 2005.
The friendship between the two women started after Haldimann reviewed Szabó?s book Fresco when it was published in German, said the volume?s editor András Barkóczi. Haldimann translated Szabó?s book Katalin Street in 1969, and Szabó started the exchange of letters in 1970 with a polite and friendly letter praising Haldimann?s translation, he added.
Although the two met perhaps ten times during their lives, it is most evident from their exchange of letters that they became the best of friends, sad Barkóczi.
Szabó was born in Debrecen on October 5, 1917 and died on November 19, 2007. She graduated from the University of Debrecen as a teacher of Latin and Hungarian. Afterward, she taught in secondary schools in Debrecen and Hódmezővásárhely. Between 1945 and 1949 she was worked in the Ministry of Religion and Education.
She married the writer and translator Tibor Szobotka in 1947.
She began her writing career as a poet, publishing her first book, Lamb, in 1947. This was followed by Back to the human in 1949. In the same year, she was awarded the Baumgarten Prize, which was withdrawn for political reasons. She was fired from the ministry in the same year.
Between 1949 and 1958, Hungary’s communist regime did not allow her works to be published, and, as her husband had also lost his job for political reasons, she returned to teaching. During this period, she wrote her first novel, Fresco. The book, which was not published until 1958, met with overwhelming success.
In 1978, Szabó was presented with the Kossuth Prize, Hungary’s highest honour for artists.
Szabó’s works have been published in more than 40 countries around the world, and she has won numerous prizes in Hungary and abroad. In 2003, she was awarded Frances’s Prix Femina Étranger for best foreign novel.
Her novel Abigail was chosen as the 6th most popular novel in the Hungarian version of The Big Read. Three more of her novels made the top hundred in the list: Für Elise, An Old-fashioned Story and The Door.