Herta Müller

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The University of Kassel (GhK) has awarded the Brothers Grimm Professorship for the 1998 semester to the writer and essayist Herta Müller.

The Kassel honor follows numerous honors bestowed upon Herta Müller since she first attracted the attention of the literary public in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1984 with her prose volume Niederungen, first published in Bucharest. This was followed in rapid succession by works such as Drückender Tango, 1984, Reisende auf einem Bein, 1989, Barfüßfußiger Februar, 1990, Der Fuchs war damals schon der Jäger, 1992, and in 1995 the novel Herztier as well as the essay collection Hunger und Seide.

Herta Müller, considered one of the most important contemporary German-language writers, lives and works in Berlin. She is a member of the German Academy for Language and Poetry.

Image: Amrei-Marie (Wikimedia Commons; CC-BY-SA-3.0-DE)
Herta Müller (Leipzig Book Fair 2007)

Herta Müller was born in 1953 in Nitzkydorf/Romania, studied German and Romance languages and literature at the University of Timisoara from 1972 to 1976. After initially working as a translator and German teacher, she was dismissed from teaching because of her refusal to cooperate with the "Securitate" secret police. Since then she worked as a freelance writer. But because of her criticism of the Romanian Ceausescu regime, she was banned from working and publishing in 1984. In March 1987, she moved to the Federal Republic of Germany with her husband, the writer Richard Wagner.

GPP event series with Herta Müller

As part of the Brothers Grimm Poetics Professorship, Herta Müller gave a two-part poetics lecture entitled "Der fremde Blick oder Das Leben ist ein Furz in der Laterne" (The Foreign Gaze or Life is a Fart in a Lantern), on June 24 and 25, both from 7 p.m., in the Eulensaal of the Murhard Library. On the afternoon of June 26, she offered a workshop in conjunction with the GhK's Department of German Studies from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Owl Hall, and in the evening, starting at 7 p.m., she read from her works in the Owl Hall.

Prizes and awards (selection):

  • 1985 Rauris Literature Prize
  • 1987 Ricarda Huch Prize
  • 1989 Marieluise Fleisser Prize
  • 1989 German Language Prize
  • 1990 Roswitha Prize
  • 1994 Kleist Prize
  • 1995 European Literature Prize Prix Aristeion
  • 1998 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
  • 1999 Franz Kafka Prize of the City of Klosterneuburg
  • 2001 Tübingen Poetics Lectureship
  • 2002 Carl Zuckmayer Medal
  • 2004 Literature Prize of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation
  • 2005 Berlin Literature Prize
  • 2006 Würth Prize for European Literature
  • 2006 Walter Hasenclever Literature Prize
  • 2007/2008 Scholarship International House of Artists Villa Concordia
  • 2009 Honorary Award of the Heinrich Heine Society
  • 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature
  • 2009 Franz Werfel Human Rights Prize
  • 2010 Hoffmann von Fallersleben Prize for Literature Critical of the Times
  • 2010 Grand Cross of Merit with Star of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • 2010 Honorary doctorate from Seoul Women's University (Korea)
  • 2011 Samuel Bogumil Linde Prize
  • 2011 Monismania Prize
  • 2014 Hannelore Greve Literature Prize