Wilhelm Hauff was a German poet and novelist. He was born in 1802 in Stuttgart. He died at the age of twenty-five, and the period of his literary work was comprised within his last two years. This short time however sufficed to express his extraordinary genius.
Hauff was the son of August Friedrich Hauff, Government Secretary of Foreign Affairs. His father died when he was but seven years of age, and the education of the children devolved upon the mother, a woman of great intelligence, whose influence over her sensitive son was the result of a perfect understanding of his emotional nature. Hauff’s powers of work were enormous, and he produced his stories in rapid succession. Das Bild des Kaisers (The Portrait of the Emperor), a poetic piece of romance, and Die Bettlerin vom Pont des Arts (The Beggar of the Pont des Arts), are masterpieces of their kind. Among the best of his productions must be ranked Phantasien im Bremer Rathskeller (Phantasies in the Bremen Rathskeller). It is however most especially in the series of tales The Caravan, The Sheik of Alexandria, and The Inn in Spessart, that Hauff’s high originality is best exemplified. He is pre-eminently a storyteller, and his pure and lucid style is the transparent medium for the expression of strikingly bold dramatic ideas. His wit is singularly delicate, yet penetrating, and he exercises a fascination over persons of all ages and conditions. The popularity which he at once attained is still unabated. His collected works continue to be issued in numerous editions, and his place in German literature seems now as assured as it has always been in the hearts of his countrymen.
Alexander Kluge, born in Germany in 1932, is a world-famous author and filmmaker, a lawyer, and a social critic. He has won German’s highest literary award, the George Büchner Prize in addition to his four gold lions from the Venice Film Festival. Kluge is one of the leading intellectual voices in Germany today. Described, as a young man, as “Adorno’s favorite son”, over the past half century Kluge has created a vast body of work that can be regarded as a continuation, in word and image, of the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School.
*Photo: © Constantin Riess.
Hartmut Lange was born in Berlin Spandau, 1937. After studying dramaturgy at the Babelsberg Academy of Film, he started working as a dramaturge in 1960 in East Berlin. After leaving for a trip to Yugoslavia, however, he did not return to the GDR. Instead, he went to West Berlin, working as a dramaturge at various prestigious theaters. Lange’s plays, essays, and prose have won many awards, among them the Gerhart Hauptmann and the Laure-Bataillon Prize.
Emine Sevgi Özdamar, born in 1946, is a Turkish-German author, actress, and theatre director. At the age of 12 she entered the stage for the first time, and in 1965 she came to Germany as a Gastarbeiter, working at a factory in West Berlin. After taking acting classes in Istanbul, she got her first professional roles, and engagements in Berlin (Volksbühne), Paris, Avignon, and Bochum (Schauspielhaus) followed. Her debut novel, Life is a Caravanserai: Has Two Doors I Went in One I Came out the Other, appeared in 1992 and was translated into several languages. She has authored four novels, a collection of short stories, and multiple plays. Her literary work was awarded several prestigious German prizes, such as the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize (1991), the Adalbert von Chamisso Prize (1999), and the Kleist Prize (2004).
*Photo: © Helga Kneidl.
Georg Klein is a German writer who was born in 1953. He is the author of five novels, several collections of short stories and a detective story. His work has been awarded many prizes, including the Brothers Grimm Prize and the Bachmann Prize. In 2010 he won the Leipzig Book Fair Prize for Roman unserer Kindheit (‘Novel of Our Childhood’). Georg Klein is a member of the PEN Centre Germany.
*Photo: © Wilko de Vries.
Peter Stamm is a Swiss author. He was born in 1963 and studied English, Psychology and Psychopathology for a few semesters before doing various jobs in various places, including Paris and New York. Since his first novel Agnes was published in 1998 he has produced five further novels, five collections of short stories and a collection of plays. Peter Stamm lives in Switzerland.
*Photo: © Gaby Gerster.
Kenah Cusanit (1979) is a German writer and poet. She grew up in Berlin-Brandenburg, and has an MA in Ancient Oriental Philology (Sumerian, Akkadian, Hittite), ethnology and African Studies. So far, she published essays and poems. She is now working on her first novel. She lives in Berlin.
Peter Bichsel was born in Lucerne in 1935, the son of a craftsman. He trained to be a teacher and taught in a primary school until 1968 (and one last time in 1973). In 1964 he became famous overnight with his first collection of short stories; he was enthusiastically received by Group 47, the German association of authors led by Hans Werner Richter, and awarded the Group 47 Prize in 1965. Since 1985 he has been a member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin and a corresponding member of the German Academy for Language and Literature in Darmstadt. Bichsel lives in Bellach in the canton of Solothurn. He has won several awards for his work, including the Great Schiller Prize and the Gottfried Keller Prize. He is the author of a number of collections of short stories and journalism.