The Petőfi Literary Fund is the directorate (Petőfi Irodalmi Ügynökség Irodalmi Export-Import Igazgatóság) entrusted with the task of managing and coordinating efforts and endeavors directed abroad. It unites various institutions which earlier were working within different frameworks and in different forms to draw the attention of readerships outside of Hungary to Hungarian literature (Publishing Hungary, Hungarian Books and Translations Office). It is in charge of coordinating the Hungarian presence at international book fairs, it provides support for translators and publishing houses outside of Hungary, it helps people prominent on the Hungarian book market gain exposure outside the country, and it cultivates interest in Hungarian literature the world over with its own publications and media.
The 1749 Online World Literature Magazine, which was launched by the Petőfi Literary Fund, was created to address a lacuna which arose when earlier journals dealing with world literature ceased publication. It is also intended to bring exciting works of literature and writers from around the world closer to the Hungarian readership. Its essential aim is to present existing or new translations of works of world literature and to familiarize its readership with the most recent events and trends in literature the world over. The palette of genres is remarkably colorful, including translations of contemporary poetry and prose and critical articles and interviews.
The Petőfi Literary Fund also works as a co-organizer of the PesText International Literary Festival. The festival brings international literature to Budapest in a new context, with a clear focus on the literature of the Visegrad countries, i.e. Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. The broad context includes non-fiction and children’s literature, text and illustration, and visual art and performance.
The Fund also manages the development of the network of a national writers’ residency program in some of the larger cities in Hungary, lying beyond the capital. The Hungarian Translators’ House in the city of Balatonfüred, which was launched in 1988, is an essential component of this program. The Writer in Residence program is a familiar solution used the world over to help cultivate and maintain relationships among people active in contemporary literature. Invitations are extended to authors to take advantage of residencies which permit them to focus on their creative work for periods ranging from one or two weeks to a year.
The Petőfi Literary Fund also works together with almost innumerable institutions abroad to familiarize international readerships with classics from the Hungarian literary tradition and works of contemporary Hungarian literature.