Klaus Hoffer

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Klaus Hoffer as Grimm Poetics Professor 2018 in Kassel

- Stefanie Kreuzer | Status: April 2021 -

Grimm Poetics Professor 2018: Klaus Hoffer

The Graz-based writer Klaus Hoffer will assume the Brothers Grimm Poetics Professorship at the University of Kassel in 2018. The Austrian receives the honor for his award-winning literary work. With the Kassel Grimm Poetics Professorship, the Institute for German Studies at the university in northern Hesse annually honors outstanding literary figures as well as playwrights and film people.

The author became known through texts such as the two-part novel Bei den Bieresch (1979/83), the story Am Magnetberg (1982) and novel fragments, concrete-poetic as well as intertextually charged prose texts and essays. 

Image: Stefanie Kreuzer
Klaus Hoffer (2003 in Graz; photo: ©Stefanie Kreuzer)
Klaus Hoffer: Grimm Poetics Professor 2018 (Book cover of the first volume of the publication series on the Grimm Poetics Professorship, edited by Stefanie Kreuzer)

Hoffer was a member of the so-called 'Graz Group', a loose association of writers based in Graz, which also included other well-known writers such as Peter Handke.
"Klaus Hoffer is an excellent choice for the professorship," says Prof. Dr. Stefanie Kreuzer from the Institute for German Studies at the University of Kassel. "He is a great writer who is admired by other authors, even though - as Urs Widmer once pointed out - he had runs like Kafka when the latter was still riding a motorcycle and laughing," judges the literature and media scholar, who herself received her doctorate with a thesis on Klaus Hoffer's work in the context of fantasy and postmodernism.

The Styrian studied German and English language and literature with some excursions into art history and classical philology in Graz. He then earned his doctorate with a thesis on Kafka. "Hoffer is a true poeta doctus, a learned poet," Kreuzer says. "His fictional texts are narratively complex in structure and often densely interwoven intertextually. At the same time, he also knows how to engage poetically with texts by other authors in a concise way."

Hoffer has been a lecturer at numerous universities in and outside Europe, for example in the USA and Senegal. He has been awarded several prizes for his literary texts, including the Alfred Döblin Prize, the manuskripte Prize and the Rauriser Literature Prize. As a translator, Hoffer has also translated several classics of English-language literature - such as those by Joseph Conrad, Raymond Carver and Kurt Vonnegut - into German.

The events in the framework of the Grimm Poetics Professorship have exceptionally taken place in the winter semester 2018/19.

Film documentation of the inaugural lecture

Prizes and awards (selection):

  • 1980 Rauris Literature Prize
  • 1981 Alfred Döblin Prize
  • 1983 Promotion Prize of the Federal Ministry for Education and the Arts
  • 1985 Poetics lecture at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz
  • 1986 Poetry Lecture at the Karl-Franzens-
    University in Graz
  • 1986 Literature Prize of the Province of Styria
  • 1990 Writer in Residence at Washington University
    in St. Louis
  • 1992 Manuscripts Prize of the Province of Styria
  • 1999 Writer in Residence at Grinell College in Iowa


HNA article from November 9, 2018 (by Mark-Christian von Busse)