Márton <i>Simon </i>

Márton Simon

poet, literary translator

"Owing especially to his work Polaroids, the poetry of Márton Simon is an extraordinary success story. This holds true even when compared to the attention received by contemporary poems we consider popular."
— from the online literary magazine Olvass bele (Jeges-Varga Ferenc)

Márton Simon is a poet, performer, literary translator, and a fresh voice in Hungarian contemporary poetry, being one of the most successful poets of its mid-generation. Born in Kalocsa, he attended the Pázmány Péter Catholic University pursuing studies in aesthetics, Hungarian, and communication. He graduated from the Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church with a degree in Japanese.

He has been publishing poems since 2004 in major Hungarian journals, winning the prize of excellence of the journal Mozgó Világ in his first year. His debut poetry collection was published by l’Harmattan in 2010 under the title Songs for 3:45 AM. His second collection titled Polaroids was published in 2013 and rendered him one of the most widely read Hungarian poets of the decade; the book has since reached its 16th edition. Two more collections followed; in 2018, the Fox Wedding, and in 2021, the I Wanted to Talk to You in the Kitchen at Night. His poems received several prestigious awards such as the so-called Makói Medáliák Prize, the Zsigmond Móricz Scholarship, and the Péter Horváth Literary Prize. Supported by scholarships, he lived extensively in Krakow and Berlin. His poems have been translated into ten languages; the English translation of his first collection was published in 2020 by The Offending Adam Press in Arizona.

He joined the first ‘great’ generation of Hungarian poetry slam in 2011. He participated in the first Red Bull Pilvaker, finished among the top three in the very first national poetry slam championships, and won several smaller and grander competitions. In 2016, at the European Poetry Slam Championship in Budapest, he represented Hungary during the workshop of Marc Smith American poet and founder of the poetry slam movement. For almost a decade he has been running workshops of his own, with a focus on creative writing and poetry. He is engaged in various forms of mentorship and is committed to nurturing talents.

In his work as a literary translator, his main is translating English-language contemporary prose. Examples of his translations include the short stories of Edgar Keret, the memoirs of John Walters, the poetry collection of Lana Del Rey (co-translated with Réka Ágnes Tóth), and the poems of Ocean Vuong. When translating from Japanese, he specializes in poetry of the 20th century; he wrote his thesis on the emergence of Japanese modernist poetry.

He is, and has been for a good ten years now, a regular performer, giving spoken word nights with poetry and music; primarily electro-ambient music and jazz. He is a frequent participant in literary talks and roundtable discussions. His guided tours and opening address talks in venues such as the Várfok Gallery, the Deák Erika Gallery, the Mai Manó House, and the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center demonstrate his close connection to contemporary and modern art as well as photography.


  • AEGON Award (shortlist), 2019
  • Merítés Prize, 2019
  • Péter Horváth Literary Scholarship, 2018
  • Mihály Babits Literary Translation Scholarship, 2018
  • Literary Scholarship of the Visegrad Fund (Autumn/Krakow), 2017
  • Zsigmond Móricz Scholarship, 2011
  • Makói Medáliák Prize, 2011
  • Mozgó Világ (World in Motion) Prize, 2004