Magda Szabó was born in Debrecen, eastern Hungary, in 1917, and began her working life as a teacher. From 1949 onwards her work was banned, but she burst onto the literary scene in 1958 with the publication of Fresco and The Dawn. Katalin Street was published in 1969 and Abigail in 1970. In 1987, publication of The Door brought her international recognition and was the winner of the Prix Femina and the Mondello Prize. She died in 2007. In 2016 The Door was chosen as Best Book of the Year by the New York Times.