Berlin Fellowship 2023 — Literature

Diána Vonnák

*1990, Budapest (HUN)

Lives in Edinburgh (UK)

Instagram: @diavonnak


Diána Vonnák is a literary author and social researcher from Hungary. She writes fiction, essays and reportage in Hungarian and  English, and translates Ukrainian poetry. Her short story collection Látlak (2021, Jelenkor) won the Margó Debut Award and was shortlisted for the Libri Award in 2022. Her work has been published in LARB, in the TLS, Asymptote etc. She publishes essays, reviews and reportage for major Hungarian outlets. As an anthropologist, she worked in Ukraine from 2014, spending over two and a half years in the country. She is currently working as a research fellow at Stirling University in Scotland on a project that analyses wartime support for Ukrainian cultural heritage. 


During my time at the Junge Akademie I will work on the manuscript for my second book, a documentary novel that follows a range of people whose lives have been upended by war in Ukraine. I ask what it means to be a professional stranger, to make one’s home elsewhere, through a cast of international journalists, translators, and monitoring mission staff. These people give as much as they can. Local friends, colleagues and family may pay with their lives. Exploring how people cope with this profound asymmetry, I explore the limits of belonging, and ask what it means for a society to lose peace and who we have become by living through grief and anger, losing loved ones, and finding ourselves changed beyond recognition.