Sten Nadolny

(* 1942)

Sten NadolnyBiographical Sketch

Sten Nadolny (born Zehdenick, Germany, July 29, 1942) is a German novelist. His first novel, Netzkarte, was published in 1981. Originally, it was written as a script for a film that was never realized. It details the adventures of a young man named Ole Reuter, who purchases a “Netzkarte”, or ticket that allows him to travel by train throughout (then: West) Germany. Nadolny revisits the character of Ole Reuter in a sequel, Er oder Ich (Him or Me), published in 1999.

His best known work is The Discovery of Slowness (1983, German title: Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit), a fictionalized meditation on the life and lessons of British Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin. A pre-publication portion of the novel titled Kopenhagen 1801 (which would become the fifth chapter) had earned Nadolny the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in 1980.

Read more about Sten Nadolny on Wikipedia.


Major Awards and Honors

Ingeborg Bachmann Prize (Austria)
  • 1980: “Kopenhagen 1801”
    – Later to become chapter 5 of the novel “Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit.”
Mainzer Stadtschreiber (Germany)
  • 2005
Hans Fallada Prize (Germany)
  • 1985
Ernst Hoferichter Prize (Germany)
  • 1995
Premio Vallombrosa (Italy)
  • 1986: “Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit”



Novels and Novellas
  • Netzkarte (1981)
    (Rail Pass)
  • Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit (The Discovery of Slowness) (1983)
  • Selim oder die Gabe der Rede (1990)
    (Selim, or the Gift of Speech)
  • Ein Gott der Frechheit (1994)
    (The God of Impertinence)
  • Er oder Ich (1999)
    (He or I; Him or Me)
  • Ullsteinroman (2003)
  • Weitlings Sommerfrische (2012)
  • Das Glück des Zauberers (2017)
Lectures and Other Nonfiction
  • Vom Erzählen und den guten Absichten (1990)
    – On poetry and creative writing.
  • Das Erzählen und die guten Ideen (2001)
  • Putz- und Flickstunde: Zwei Kalte Krieger erinnern sich (2009)
    – Together with Jens Sparschuh; memoirs of the authors’ cold war-era military duty.
Artistic Cooperations
  • Amnea, oder die fliegende Teekanne (2001)
    – With cartoonist Loomit Carlsen.
Collections and Anthologies
  • Deutsche Gestalten (2004)
    – Contributor and editor, together with Hartmut von Hentig.


A Selection of Quotes

The Discovery of Slowness

“Recognizing isn’t at all like seeing; the two often don’t even agree.”


“Es gibt zwei Sorten von Männern. Die einen verstehen ‘etwas von Frauen’, die anderen sind solche, die einfach ‘Frauen verstehen’. Ich weiß nicht, welche Sorte mir verdächtiger ist.”

Find more quotes by Sten Nadolny on Goodreads.