Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Old Yiddish

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tamas Frei

Tamas Frei: sourse,

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Petra K at Powells

Petra K and the Blackhearts at Powells in Portland, OR

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Writers Workshop Budapest

Budapest Writers Workshop

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Saturday, September 22, 2012

If you found this site via Google, I would encourage you to jump over to, for the best in Central European Literature, and more from Mókus (we miss you so).

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Moving House

My new blog, which focuses on editing, writing, and publishing (particularly ebooks) is up and running at Wordpill/Blog. This message will self-destruct in 60 seconds. 59, 58...

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Well, I don't have to tell you that this blog is moribund. The squirrel has given up the ghost. I'm allowing it to do so for a few reasons. First, I have been writing content for a new blog that focuses solely on writing, editing, and publishing. Once the design is settled, I will get the address out there. Second, I have been working to get a backlog of old writing published for Kindle and other hand-held reading devices. The first book is my detestable first novel LUMPEN: A Novel of Prague. It was a bitch to write, and it will be a bitch to read. If you are brave enough, give it a try. I think after me and one very underwhelmed literary agent (who compared the novel to Janet Jackson's Superbowl nipple exposure) nobody has actually read the thing. The brief description is as follows:

A strange, loving but ruthless prostitute, a shadow that stalks its owner, and a new-age skinhead: Welcome to the dark world of John Shirting, a recent arrival in the city of Prague, back in the early 1990s.

Not long ago, Shirting held down a beloved job at Capone-cino’s, a coffee chain and global business powerhouse. When he is deemed ‘too passionate’ about his job, he is let go. Shirting makes it his mission to return to the Capone-cino’s fold by single-handedly breaking into a new market, and making the city of Prague safe for free-market capitalism. Unfortunately, his college nemesis, Theodore Mizen, a certified socialist, has also moved to Prague, and is determined to reverse the Velvet Revolution, one folk song at a time.

It is not long before Shirting’s grasp on his mission and, indeed, his sanity, come undone, leaving him at the mercy of half-bit mafioso, and his own shadow self.

A combination of Monster Magazine and Lord of the Barnyard, with a jigger of Confederacy of Dunces, Lumpen is a dark farce about globalism, expatriates, and coffee.

Have a look here for the Amazon product page: Lumpen: A Novel of Prague

About the author: Matt Ellis is an author coach and manuscript editor at Word Pill Editing. Have a look here for an affordable Manuscript Critique.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hello I Must be Going: Ten People in Hungary and the Likely-hood They Will Greet You

Ranked From Most to Least Likely to Acknowledge You

1) People in an elevator: In Hungary, very busy, business-minded people take the time to greet you in the elevator, whether you are a colleague or not. It can be confusing, especially as Hungarians say ‘hello’ when leaving.

2) People in the gym locker room: Again, it can be a bit jarring to be pantlessly greeted by a passing stranger. I think they do it for that reason.

3) Bartenders: As with the rest of the civilized world, Budapest has its share of bartenders who take pride in their work, and want you to feel welcome. Usually, though not always, these are the not bartenders who are forced to give their tips up to the management. If you go to a bar long enough, they will even greet you by name, though you will have to wait much longer, sometimes years, to get a buy-back.

4) Homeless: and sometimes they don’t even want money, though usually, they do.

5) Store cashiers: it’s about a 50/50 chance you will get a craggly dragon-lady whose hemorrhoid cream is not up to the task. The good news is that the other 50 percent actually don’t seem to mind that you are giving money to the business that keeps them in a job.

6) Bus drivers: I was brought up to thank a bus driver and say good-bye. I still do, if I exit at the front. Bus drivers are genuinely surprised when you say good-bye to them, and occasionally even wish you a good day.

7) The random Hungarian you met at a party: Ignoring acquaintances is blood sport in Budapest. There are people whom I have met multiple times, had hours of conversation with, who will look deliberately straight through me on the street. It baffles me every time. I have no idea why people behave this way; if you do, please let me know.

8) The random expat you met at a party: The longer they have been living in Budapest, the less likely they are to greet you, having from being iced-out time and time again themselves. Expats in Budapest are a particularly susceptible group and have assimilated the worst habits of their host country; indeed, sometimes they perfect them (sloth, pessimism, cynicism, cronyism).

10) Your neighbor: If this list teaches us one thing, it is that the closer you get to home, the less likely you are going to get on a cozy first name basis with those who cross your path. Older neighbors can be trained to greet you by shamelessly blurting out a ‘Jó napot’ in their faces, but after a while, you begin to see their point: that it is easier to silently pass them by, not acknowledging, unacknowledged.

Matt Henderson Ellis is a freelance manuscript editor and author coach working with writers who publish in print and digitally.