Magda Szab? (October 5, 1917 – November 19, 2007) was a Hungarian writer, arguably Hungary's foremost woman novelist. She also wrote dramas, essays, studies, memories and poetry.
Born in Debrecen, Szab? graduated at the University of Debrecen as a teacher of Latin and of Hungarian. She started working as a teacher in a Calvinist all-girl school in Debrecen and H?dmezőv?s?rhely. Between 1945 and 1949 she was working in the Ministry of Religion and Education. She married the writer and translator Tibor Szobotka in 1947.
She began her writing career as a poet, publishing her first book B?r?ny ("Lamb") in 1947, which was followed by Vissza az emberig ("Back to the Human") in 1949. In 1949 she was awarded the Baumgarten Prize, which was - for political reasons - withdrawn from her on the very day it was given. She was dismissed from the Ministry in the same year.
During the establishment of Stalinist rule from 1949 to 1956, the government did not allow her works to be published. Since her unemployed husband was also stigmatized by the communist regime, she was forced to teach in an elementary school within this period.
It was during the years of this involuntary silence that she felt the frames of poetry too tight to express her thoughts and turned to prose. Her first novel, Fresk? ("Fresco"), written in these years was published in 1958 and achieved overwhelming success among readers. Her most widely read novel Abig?l ("Abigail", 1970) is an adventure story about a schoolgirl boarding in eastern Hungary during the war.
She received several prizes in Hungary and her works have been published in 42 countries. In 2003 she was the winner of the French literary prize Prix Femina ?tranger for the best foreign novel.