Berger-Kiss, Andrés 1927-
BERGER-KISS, Andrés 1927-
PERSONAL: Born December 12, 1927, in Szombathely, Hungary; naturalized U.S. citizen; son of Imre (an actor, singer, and dancer) and Lenke (an actress; maiden name, Kiss) Budai Berger; married Susan Adele Pasarow (an artist), July 27, 1984. Ethnicity: "Magyar-Jewish." Education: Indiana University—Bloomington, M.A.; University of Missouri—Columbia, Ph.D., 1959. Politics: Socialist Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Travel, white-water rafting.
ADDRESSES: Home—475 Furnace, Lake Oswego, OR 97034.
CAREER: Writer. State of Oregon, Portland, chief psychologist and director of mental health education, 1965–67; private practice of clinical psychology, 1968–90.
MEMBER: Northwest Writers.
Hijos de la madrugada (novel), ECOE Ediciones (Bogotá, Colombia), 1987, translation published as Children of the Dawn, Dancing Moon Press (Newport, OR), 1999.
Voices from the Earth (bilingual poetry collection), ECOE Ediciones (Bogotá, Colombia), 1997.
Mis tres patrias y Un puñado de pelvo, Editorial Betania (Madrid, Spain), 2004.
The Sharpener and Other Stories, Latin American Literary Review Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 2005.
Donalejo y sus 186 hijos, ECOE Ediciones (Botogá, Colombia), 2005.
Work represented in anthologies. Contributor of short stories and poetry to periodicals, including Tallus and Scree and Americas Review.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Secret Memoirs of a Bornagain Preacher, a satirical novel, completion expected in 2006.
SIDELIGHTS: Andrés Berger-Kiss once told CA: "My primary motivation is to write good literature that will last and touch the lives of people way beyond my days on Earth. I want to give voice to the underdog and expose injustice."
"I am influenced by the great masters of literature, some not so well known in our country; that is, Ivo Andric, Szonyi Sándor, Porfirio Barba-Jacob, Neruda, Silva, Flores, José Eustacio Rivera, Rafael Arango Villegas, Pearl S. Buck, Steinbeck, Sandburg, Dario, Whitman, Lorca, García Márquez, Victor Hugo, Dumas, Faulkner, Alan Paton, D.H. Lawrence, Thomas Wolfe, Truman Capote, Carranquilla, Cervantes, Pío Baroja, Pasternak, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, and many others.
"I only write when I am moved by the suffering I see or feel. I write six hours per day, sometimes more. I write either in English or in Spanish, and the following day, when I edit what I wrote the previous day, I often write a version in the second language. When I finish, I have a version of the completed work in two languages. This way of transposing my work gives me a chance to perfect the original.
"I can't tolerate injustice and have a craving to expose it whenever possible. I have recently done dramatic readings of my prose and poetry in Colombia, Mexico, Hungary, Spain, Hawaii, the Canary Islands, Germany, Canada, and, of course, in the northwestern United States, where I live. I was invited to open the Third International Congress of Hispanic Poetry in 2001 at the University of Pecs in Hungary with a presentation of my own poems, which later appeared in the book Mis 3 patrias y Un punado de polvo (My 3 Homelands and a Fistful of Dust)."
More recently, Berger-Kiss told CA: "Experiencing the impact of three different cultures at a very early age and reading El Conde de Montecristo in Spanish first got me interested in writing. The cultures were Hungary, Holland, and Colombia, and sensing the inequality among those who were my little friends, well-being in Europe, and misery in Colombia, where the discrepancy between the rich and poor was devastating. Later, the injustice of the German-Nazi persecution of Jews where seventeen members of my extended family perished, drove me further into the notion of having to write. The result? My latest publication The Sharpener and Other Stories. Three of my best friends who were so poor they could not afford medical treatment during a typhoid epidemic and a few beggars I befriended during my childhood in Medellin made me wish to speak for them through my writing. The eventual result was my first novel Hijos de la madrugada, which I translated into English, and published as Children of the Dawn in the U.S. Because it was my first book and so tied to the most idealistic part of my life, it is my favorite piece of writing. But, if you look at the whole body of my productions, you will see that everything I have written comes from that same source.
"The most surprising thing I have learned as a writer is the painful discovery of how superficially most people, even publishers, read."