József Attila Circle became an independent literary organisation in 1989 when it ceased to be the youth section of the Hungarian Writers’ Association. At present JAK is the second largest active literary association in Hungary with over 300 members. It unites young professionals from several fields of literature such as writers, critics, literary translators, literary historians and organisers of literary events. According to its statutes, its mission is to represent the interests of young authors in Hungary and also provide them professional assistance. JAK is a chief organiser of literary and professional events and it is active in promoting literature, both in Hungary and abroad, especially new works written by young authors.
Some of the main professional events JAK offers include the JAK Summer Course, a five-day workshop organised annually. Over one hundred young writers participate in this event. Attendees may gain an insight into current trends in literature and exchange views with more established writers. The programme includes lectures on literary history and literary theory, public readings, round-table discussions and several seminars on topics such as literary criticism, literary translation, writing in general, editing literary journals and publishing literary works. Our main international event is the Literary Translators’ Workshop that has been operating for over a decade bringing translators of Hungarian literature to Hungary from countries all over the world. This ten-day event has proved to be extremely fruitful for Hungarian literature in the short run, as seminars, lectures and public readings provide a comprehensive picture of contemporary Hungarian literature, about works of younger and more established writers alike. Every term JAK organizes Creative Writing Workshops in fiction, poetry, criticism, translation and screenwriting led by some of the best known authors in the country. JAK also publishes two series of books: JAK-Books, which is the most important forum for young writers, often their first opportunity to publish their writings. The books of the series are at the centre of attention of Hungarian literary criticism, and most of the authors have ended up publishing with the major publishing houses afterwards. The JAK World Literature Series is a book series of contemporary foreign fiction and poetry in Hungarian, introducing both young foreign authors and young Hungarian literary translators. JAK’s annual conference is the JAK Study Days. It is a forum to discuss critical and theoretical problems that contemporary literature poses for young writers. In addition, JAK organises several events with the objective of fostering young literature by making it more appealing for readers. One of these is PI, a discussion series, where six renowned literary persons (critics, historians and writers) talk about a new release in Hungarian contemporary literature. Promoting quality literature among the public has also been the idea behind organising other events such as the JAK Picnic and the JAK Carnival. These events focus on a different topic each year, and offer quality entertainment for the public through readings, lectures, performances, talks, quizzes and programmes linking different forms of art.
JAK organizes events not only in Budapest and in major cities around the country, but also in the Hungarian speaking cities of Romania and Slovakia, and works in cooperation with a number of national and European literary and cultural organizations.
JAK is directed by a general assembly with an elected president and a twelve-member presidential board. The members of the presidential board and the organisers of the main events are:
Gaborják, Ádám – critic and literary theoretician
The Presidential Board:
Áfra, János – poet, organiser of KULTOK, edior-in-chief of KULTer.hu
Czinki, Ferenc – writer, project manager, organiser of V4
Tóth, Kinga – poet, musician, coordinators of Solitude
Kassai, Zsigmond – writer, critc, project coordinator of JAK