Judit runs Massolit, an English language bookstore and cafe in the center of Budapest which, in a way, is heart and soul of the city. Massolit hosts exhibitions, concerts, literary readings (including Budapest Friday Night Stories and the launch of the first issue of Panel). Sometimes it seems that Judit knows everyone in Budapest, especially those who belong to artistic community. No wonder though: many people of culture come to Massolit to work at their laptops, to have a chat with a friend or to enjoy solitude in a little garden at the back.

Judit Pecak says that running Massolit is what, among other things, keeps her in the city, as the place has a special microclimate and is important for Budapest people.

What is your current state of mind?

I'm trying to keep a kind of balance. On the one hand, politics has a huge influence on our everyday lives, and mine is no exception. On the other hand, I'm trying not to get too emotionally involved as I don't want to let it influence my personal life.

Where would you like to live?

Everywhere. I was living in so many countries that I don't mind living anywhere to be honest. I used to live in Poland and Russia, for instance. Also, I have an idea to open another bookstore in Vienna because it's close to Budapest.

When and where were you the happiest?

When I was living in Krakow for two and a half years I had two weeks there which I can describe as the best time in my life. I felt so much happiness then and just the joy of being in the present.

What is your favorite occupation?

As a job I really like what I'm doing now. I often ask myself if I still like what I'm doing and I think I will do it as long as the answer for my question is “yes”. But generally, I really like to travel, to be surrounded by nature, to hike and being outside in the green.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I've always wanted to draw but I cannot. It's king of a family thing. Everybody in our family would like to have that talent but we don't. Everything we make with our hands looks bad  (laughs).

On what occasion do you lie?

I'm actually a really good liar. This is one of my flaws but nowadays I am very conscious about that as it's never a good way to deal with things. The only thing I let myself lie about  is my age. When somebody asks me about it, I give the answer depending on how I feel at the moment and I really enjoy that.

Which living person do you most admire?

My grandmother who is 90 years old. I was always with her in the summer since I was 5. She was living in the countryside. She grew her own vegetables, baked her own bread, she had animals and we, kids, were completely free to do whatever we wanted to. I remember it as a very free and happy time. I think that experience influenced me in a good way.

Who are your favorite writers?


I like Chekhov and Bulgakov, for instance. If to speak about Hungarian literature I'd name Magda Szabó, Milán Füst, János Pilinszky and some translations by Sándor Weöres. I also read in Polish and would recommend a Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk.

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