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© dpa - International
© dpa - International
At home in the German language

April 04, 2008

They belong to a group of younger authors whose mother tongue is not German, but who write successfully in German. Read about these popular writers and their mastery of literature.

Humorous Cult Author: Wladimir Kaminer

Laconic, cheeky, bizarre, witty: Wladimir Kaminer, 40, can pack a whole novel into a short story. And the German capital Berlin and its international inhabitants often play a role. The Russian Kaminer has lived here since 1990. Ten years after his arrival, he published his first book in German, Russendisko. Since then, he has published at least one more book every year – and all of them have gone to the top of the best-seller lists. Kaminer learned German in Berlin, and enjoyed it: “Unlike my native language, with German you can put all the words together, nouns with adjectives and vice versa. The language is a kind of Lego box in which all the parts fit together.”

Poetic Story-Teller: Saša Stanišisc

29-year-old Saša Stanišisc was born in Višegrad in Bosnia-Herzegovina and has lived in Germany since 1992. In 2006 Stanišisc published his debut novel Wie der Soldat das Grammofon repariert. This semi-autobiographical story, set against the backdrop of the civil war, is told by a young Bosnian who flees with his parents to Germany and takes refuge in his new homeland in a world of stories. Critics were almost unanimous in their enthusiasm for this poetic and at the same time funny book. The rights have been sold to 22 countries.

Excellent Stylist: Terézia Mora

The Hungarian author, script writer and translator has been awarded numerous prizes, including the prestigious 1999 Ingeborg Bachmann Prize and the 2005 Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair. When it comes to Terézia Mora the culture sections are unusually eloquent. A “stylistically confident, formally ambitious and sparklingly funny text”, enthused the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, for example, in a review of Mora’s first novel, Day In Day Out, which is narrated at breakneck speed. So far she has also published a volume of stories called Seltsame Materie.

Sensitive Language Virtuoso: Feridun Zaimoglu

This 43-year-old author condensed the “sound of the street”, the subversive force of the language of young Turks in Germany, into literature. The result was Kanak Sprak, with which Feridun Zaimoglu, who came to Germany as a child with his Turkish parents, first drew attention to himself in 1995. Novels, stories and plays have followed. Almost all of them revolve around the theme of migration in one way or another. They are always sensitively written and linguistically well-honed.

© Deutschland magazine
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