Matei Vişniec (B. 1956), poet, playwright, novelist and journalist, was born on the 29th of January, in Rădăuţi, in northern Romania. He made his literary debut in “Luceafărul” magazine, in 1972. Later he moved to Bucharest in order to study philosophy at the University and was among the founders of “Luni”, one of the most prestigious literary circles at the time. His first poetry volume, La noapte va ninge [Tonight it’s going to snow], was published in 1980, by Albatros Publishing House.
He is the author of five poetry volumes, six novels and more than fifty theatre plays. Since 1987, he has lived in France, where he also works as a journalist for Radio France Internationale. After the fall of communism, in 1989, he has constantly shared his literary activity between France and Romania, between two cultures and languages, between West and East. His theatre plays have been staged worldwide and translated into more than 30 languages.
He is the laureate of several significant literary awards, such as: the Poetry Prize of Romanian Writers’ Union, for his volume Înţeleptul la ora de ceai [The Wise Man at Tea Hour], in 1984; the Romanian Academy’s Award and the UNITER Prize (Theatre Union of Romania) for his entire career; in France, he was awarded the Prize of the Press at the International Theatre Festival in Avignon; the European Prize of the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers (SACD), as well as “Jean Monnet” Prize for European Literature.
It is in the ‘80s Bucharest, in a moment of great poetic energy, that Matei Vișniec created his very own literary style, easily recognizable. His poems are often philosophical fables. Therefore, the transition from poetry to theatre came naturally, as most of his poems encompass some sort of conflict and interrogation, as well as challenge and dilemma.