Volker Braun

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Volker Braun was Grimm Poetics Professor at the University of Kassel (GhK) in 2000.

Best known for his dramas Die Kipper and Hinze und Kunze, among others, as well as numerous volumes of poetry, Braun is a member of several academies and has received numerous awards (see below).

Image: SpreeTom (Wikimedia Commons; CC BY-SA 4.0)
Volker Braun (Berlin 2006)

Volker Braun was born in Dresden on May 7, 1939. After graduating from high school, he initially tried in vain to find a place at university. In 1957/58 he worked as a printer in Dresden, in 1958/59 as a civil engineering worker in the Schwarze Pumpe combine, in 1959/60 as a skilled worker, and as a machinist in the Burghammer open pit mine. From 1960 to 1964 he studied philosophy in Leipzig. From 1965 to 1990 he worked at several Berlin theaters.

From 1970 he was a member of the PEN Center of the GDR; in 1973 he was a member of the board of the Writers' Association; in 1975 he began "operative processing" by the State Security Service because of "political-ideological diversion"; in 1977 he was a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz.

In 1982 Braun left the writers' association of the GDR. During this time, his works increasingly deal with the image of a resigned life in the GDR.

The actors in his plays move depressingly in a rigid environment that leaves no room for maneuver. In 1987 he nevertheless became a member of the presidium of the Writers' Association.

In 1990 he became a member of the Akademie der Künste Berlin (West), whose "Literature" section he headed from 2006 to 2010. Braun was the first signatory of the appeal "Für unser Land" (For our country) and thus advocated an independent "third way" for the GDR.

Prizes and awards (selection):

  • 1964 Erich Weinert Medal
  • 1971 Heinrich Heine Prize of the Ministry of Culture of the GDR
  • 1980 Heinrich Mann Prize of the Academy of Arts (GDR)
  • 1981 Lessing Prize of the GDR
  • 1988 National Prize of the GDR
  • 1989 Berlin Literature Prize of the Prussian Seehandlung Foundation
  • 1992 Schiller Memorial Prize
  • 1993 Scholarship of the Villa Massimo
  • 1995 Calwer Hermann Hesse Scholarship
  • 1996 German Critics Prize
  • 1998 Erwin Strittmatter Prize
  • 2000 Georg Büchner Prize
  • 2006 Director of the Literature Section of the Academy of Arts (Berlin)
  • 2009 German-French Candide Prize (with Olivia Rosenthal)
  • 2012 Knight (Chevalier) of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres