George Mikes


Biography of George Mikes

George Mikes (15 February 1912 in Siklós – 30 August 1987 in London) was a Hungarian-born British author best known for his humorous commentaries on various countries.

His father, Alfréd Mikes, was a successful lawyer, a profession in which he wanted George to follow. Mikes graduated in Budapest in 1933 and started work as a journalist on Reggel ("Morning"), a Budapest newspaper. For a short while he wrote a column called Intim Pista for Színházi Élet ("Theatre Life").

In 1938 Mikes became the London correspondent for Reggel and 8 Órai Ujság ("8 O'Clock Paper"). He worked for Reggel until 1940. Having been sent to London to cover the Munich Crisis and expecting to stay for only a couple of weeks, he remained for the rest of his life. In 1946 he became a British Citizen. It is reported that being a Jew from Hungary was a factor in his decision. Mikes wrote in both Hungarian and English: The Observer, The Times Literary Supplement, Encounter, Irodalmi Újság, Népszava, the Viennese Hungarian-language Magyar Híradó, and Világ.

From 1939 Mikes worked for the BBC Hungarian section making documentaries, at first as a freelance correspondent and, from 1950, as an employee. From 1975 until his death on 30 August 1987 he worked for the Hungarian section of Szabad Európa Rádió. He was president of the London branch of PEN, and a member of the Garrick Club.

His friends included Arthur Koestler, J. B. Priestley and André Deutsch, who was also his publisher.

He married twice, and had a son called Martin by his first marriage, and a daughter called Judith by his second. He died in London on 30 August 1987. On 15 September 1991 a memorial plaque was unveiled at his childhood home.

[Report Error]