Uwe Timm

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Uwe Timm was born in Hamburg in 1940, first learned to be a furrier, later caught up on his A-levels and studied German and philosophy in Munich and Paris. He earned his doctorate with a thesis on Albert Camus. As a student, Timm was actively involved in the upheavals of the late 1960s. The reappraisal of this period has left its mark on his work. He first appeared in public in 1974 with the novel Heißer Sommer, a literary treatment of his experiences in the student movement.

Image: Reading Circle (Wikimedia Commons; CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication)
Uwe Timm (Frankfurt Book Fair 2013)

This was followed by the postcolonial novel Morenga (1978), which deals with the uprising of the Nama and Herero against the German colonial masters in a montage aesthetic, combining realistic narrative with narrative models of Latin American magic realism. In 1986, the novel Der Schlangenbaum (The Snake Tree) was published, which deals with the political and economic situation in a Latin American country, and in 2001, another major novel, Rot (Red), in which, among other things, the failure of the utopias of 1968 is shaped.

Among his best-known novellas are Die Entdeckung der Currywurst (1993), filmed with Barbara Sukowa, and Der Freitisch (2011). The autobiographically influenced stories Am Beispiel meines Bruders (2003) and Der Freund und der Fremde (2005) also received considerable attention. The latter deals with Timm's friendship with Benno Ohnesorg, who was shot during an anti-Shah demonstration in Berlin in 1967.

The father of four children also came to prominence with children's and youth literature. His children's book Rennschwein Rudi Rüssel (1989) won the German Youth Literature Prize and was made into a movie. A few years ago, Timm also attracted attention with screenplays, for example for the films DIE BUBI-SCHOLZ-STORY (D 1997; director: Roland Suso Richter) and EINE HAND VOLL GRAS (D 2000; director: Roland Suso Richter).

GPP event series with Uwe Timm

In the summer semester of 2012, Uwe Timm took up the Kassel Grimm Professorship with three events, a poetics lecture dealing with the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, a seminar on his novel Morenga, and a reading from his novella Der Freitisch. The events took place on June 12, 13, and 14, 2012. 

Prizes and awards (selection):

  • 2001 Grand Literature Prize of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts
  • 2003 Schubart Literature Prize
  • 2003 Erik Reger Prize
  • 2006 Jakob Wassermann Literature Prize
  • 2006 Premio Napoli
  • 2006 Premio Mondello of the city of Palermo
  • 2009 Heinrich Böll Prize
  • 2009 Heinrich Heine Guest Lectureship
  • 2012 Carl Zuckmayer Medal
  • 2013 Cultural Honorary Award of the City of Munich