Herta Müller, Nobel Laureate for Literature (2009), Romania/Germany.

Herta Müller, “who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed” (“Nobel Prize in Literature 2009,” Nobelprize.org – 2009) has received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2009 for her courageous critique of Nicolae Ceauşescu’s dictatorship. Her work uncovers the absurdity and evilness of totalitarianism and its impact upon the dynamics between the community and the individual, in particular within the German-speaking minority in Roumania.

Herta Müller, a German-Roumanian novelist, was born in Nițchidorf, (German: Nitzkydorf), in Banat, a German-speaking region in Roumania. After completing her studies in German and Roumanian at the University of Timişoara, she worked as a translator for an engineering factory, but was fired because she refused to collaborate with the Securitate, the Romanian secret police. For four years she was not permitted to publish her first book, Niederungen. In 1982, it appeared in a censored and shortened version. After the publication of her book in the original version in Germany (1984), she became subject to severe persecutions by the Securitate and was no longer permitted to publish her work in Romania.

In 1987, Herta Müller emigrated to Germany and settled in Berlin. From 1989 to 2001 she held Visiting Professorships at different Universities in Great Britain, USA, Germany, and Switzerland. In 1998, she held the Brüder-Grimm-Guest Professorship at Kassel University, in 2001 the Tübinger Poetik-Dozentur, and in 2005, the Heiner-Müller-Guest Professorship for Poetics at the Free University of Berlin. Since 1995, she is a member of the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung. In addition to the Nobel Prize, she received numerous other awards, including the “Hoffmann-von-Fallersleben-Preis” (2010), the “Franz-Werfel-Menschenrechtspreis” (2009), the “Berliner Literaturpreis” (2005), the “Konrad-Adenauer-Preis” (2004), the “Franz-Kafka- Literaturpreis” (1999), the “Ida-Dehmel-Literaturpreis” (1998), the “International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award” (1998), the “Heinrich-von-Kleist-Preis” (1994) and the “Ricarda-Huch-Preis” (1987).

Her major works include: Vater telefoniert mit den Fliegen (2012), Immer derselbe Schnee und immer derselbe Onkel (2011), Cristina und ihre Attrappe oder was (nicht) in den Akten der Securitate steht (2009), Lebensangst und Worthunger (2009, 2010), Atemschaukel (2009, The Hunger Angel, 2012), Die blassen Herren mit den Mokkatassen (2005),
 Der König verneigt sich und tötet (2003),
 Der fremde Blick oder Das Leben ist ein Furz in der Laterne (1999), Heute wär ich mir lieber nicht begegnet (1997, 2009, The Appointment, 2001), Herztier (1994, The Land of Green Plums, 1996), Der Fuchs war damals schon der Jäger (1992, 2009), Reisende auf einem Bein (1989, 2010, Traveling on One Leg, 1998), Der Mensch ist ein großer Fasan auf der Welt (1986, 2009), Niederungen (1982, 1984, 2010, Nadirs, 1999).

For further information, please consult: www.hanser-literaturverlage.de/autoren/autor.html?id=24382.
See also: www.spiegel.de/thema/herta_mueller and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herta_M%C3%BCller



Imagine Peace! Reading from her novel Atemschaukel and discussion, Lugano, Switzerland, 4 July 2011.

Laureate of the City for the Cultures of Peace, 2011.


Photo (2007) © Annette Pohnert / Carl Hanser Verlag