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German Women Writers: Post-WWII / Contemporary – Lioness at Large

German Women Writers: Post-WWII / Contemporary

General introduction to this series of blog posts HERE.

When Germany — divided into two unequally-sized halves — picked itself up after the catastrophe that had been the Nazi era and WWII, writers played an increasingly big role in the country’s search for its collective soul and its path to a better future; and finally, in the two states that had emerged from the ashes as well as after the German reunification almost half a century later, women writers had a huge part to play in the effort.  There’s a certain transition from the literature of the immediate postwar years (which is largely concerned with WWII and its effects) to books and authors chiefly interested in contemporary society and events; as, however, many of the authors who had been active in the earlier decades were still writing and publishing books at the time of the German reunification and the subsequent years — or are still doing so now — I’ve decided not to subdivide this page but to list them all here, even if that makes for a somewhat longer page.

  • Nelly Sachs (1891-1970): A protegée of Stefan Zweig who published her first poems during the Weimar Republic, but was effectively silenced as a result of Nazi persecution.  Selma Lagerlöf, with whom she had been corresponding since age 15, intervened on behalf of Sachs and her mother with the Swedish royal family; eventually they were granted a visa and moved to Stockholm, where Nelly Sachs scraped by a living for both of them by German-Swedish translations.  It wasn’t until the final years of her life that Nelly Sachs found international recognition, but when it did come, it came in spades; topped off with the 1966 Literature Nobel Prize, shared with Shmuel Agnon.  Sachs commented on the award that while Agnon represented Israel, she herself represented the tragedy of the Jewish people, saying in the poem that she had composed for the awards ceremony that instead of a home, she held within her the transformations of the world.  Her poetry is available in English translation in a two-volume Collected Poems edition, comprising the years 1944-1969 and 1950-1969, respectively, as well as in several individual volumes; notably, Glowing Enigmas, The Seeker and Other Poems, Flight and Metamorphoses, and O the Chimneys: Selected Poems, Including the Verse Play, Eli.  Also available in English translation is an edition of her correspondence with her friend and “spiritual brother”, fellow Holocaust victim Paul Celan.
  • Hannah Arendt (1906–1975): Another one of the writers who hardly needs an introduction; one of the most important and influential post-WWII philosophers.  Since she was a naturalized U.S. citizen and published most of her works in English (and many of those originally written in German have been translated), there’s no difficulty to access her writings in English; her most important works include The Origins of Totalitarianism (with which BT, MarkK and I unexpectedly struggled somewhat in a buddy read a few years ago), her controversial trial report Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, On Violence, and her biography of Rahel Varnhagen (the lady with whom I started this post way back on page 1), which started out as her dissertation: Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewess.  For those who’d rather start out by sampling some of Arendt’s work, The Portable Hannah Arendt contains a good cross section.
  • Marion Gräfin Dönhoff (1909-2002): Germany’s answer to Katharine Graham: the phenominally influential long-time editor and publisher of Germany’s premiere weekly newspaper Die Zeit (“The Time(s)”) — think The [London] Times or The New York Times on even more potent intellectual steroids, in weekly instead of daily editions.  In the Nazi era, Dönhoff was connected with the resistance group surrounding Count von Stauffenberg, which had planned the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler.  One of her cousins was a member of that group and among those executed for the failed attempt; her brothers, on the other hand, were active supporters of the Nazi régime.  Dönhoff’s feature-length account of her post-WWII flight on horseback from Eastern Prussia, where she had grown up (and which today is part of Russia), to West Germany was one of her first published articles and contributed to her being hired by the newspaper which she would later come to head.  Of her books, two have been translated into English: her childhood memoir Before The Storm: Memories of My Youth in Old Prussia (Kindheit in Ostpreußen); and a portrait of several of West Germany’s political leaders, all of whom she knew personally, combined with reflections on postwar Germany’s political path, Foe into Friend: The Makers of the New Germany from Konrad Adenauer to Helmut Schmidt (Von Gestern nach Übermorgen: Zur Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland).
  • Libussa Fritz-Krockow (1916-?) was the elder sister of renowned historian Christian von Krockow (1927-2002): She kept a diary during her flight from Pomerania (today part of Poland) to West Germany at the end of the war; her brother helped her transform that diary into book form and get it published.  (He is also frequently listed as the book’s sole author, which almost certainly was not his own doing.)  As the title indicates, the narrative, The Hour of the Women (Die Stunde der Frauen), recounts, from a woman’s point of view (toxic masculinity and all), the mass exodus of the German population from the territories handed over to Poland and Russia at the end of WWII.  It is considered one of the most important books on the subject, which in turn was one of those immediate consequences of the war that would come to impact Germany’s postwar history and politics for decades to come.
  • Christine Brückner (1921-1996): One of post-WWII West Germany’s, as well as the reunited country’s best-selling writers, her Quints Trilogy arguably is a companion piece to the “exodus” narratives of Gräfin Dönhoff and the Krockows (above), only in this instance, in the form of a trilogy of novels: Gillyflower Kid (Jauche und Levkojen) tells the story of a woman’s life as a child and young woman in Pomerania up to the moment when she joins the 1945 mass exodus from Pomerania to West Germany; Flight of Cranes (Nirgendwo ist Pönichen) continues the saga from the 1945 exodus to the 1960s’ and 1970s’ changes of German society as a result of those decades’ social upheavals; and Die Quints (“The Quints” — there doesn’t seem to be an English translation) continues the saga in the 1970s. — Another work by Brückner that is available in English translation is her series of imagined dialogues with famous women of the past, both fictional and real, Desdemona, If Only You Had Spoken (Wenn Du geredet hättest, Desdemona).
  • Marie Luise Kaschnitz (1901-1974): An author of poetry, essays, and prose narratives, whose work often placed women’s lives center stage and / or were told froma “lyrical subject” narrative perspective, increasingly questioning the perception of reality.  Among the works of hers that are available in English translation are the short story collections Long Shadows (Lange Schatten) and Circe’s Mountain, the poetry collections Whether or Not (Steht noch dahin) and Selected Later Poems, as well as Kaschnitz’s memoir, The House of Childhood (Das Haus der Kindheit).
  • Luise Rinser (1911-2002): A teacher-turned-writer who during her life was one of post-WWII West Germany’s best-known writers, but whose star increasingly waned towards the end of her life.  She had positioned herself strongly anti-Nazi after WWII, capitalizing on her imprisonment in Nazi Germany for “activities undermining the armed forces” (“Wehrkraftzersetzung”), a charge carrying the death penalty and frequently employed to silence those opposed to the Nazi regime.  Together with Nobel laureates Heinrich Böll and Günter Grass, she opposed the rearmement of Germany; in the 1960s and 1970s she also campaigned for abortion rights, for women’s right in the Catholic church, and in favor of Willy Brandt in his bid to become Chancellor of West Germany.  In 1984 she was nominated (but roundly defeated by the other parties’ favorite, Richard von Weizsäcker) as the Green Party’s candidate for the office of President of West Germany.  Yet, her reputation had been controversial since her 1968 criticism of the judgments handed down against the leaders of the “Red Army Faction” (“Rote Armee Fraction” / RAF) terrorist group, and it grew increasingly controversial in her later years: first on account of her glowing support of the North Korean regime under Kim Il Sung and of Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini; and finally when a posthumous biography revealed that in the early 1930s she had joined the Nazi women’s organization (albeit not the Nazi party itself).  In that book, her biographer — a close personal friend — also alleged that, several years before retiring from teaching in order to marry, she had denounced the Jewish  headmaster of her school to further her own career, and that she had also exaggerated her anti-Nazi role in the final years of the era and the interest that the regime had taken in her person and activities.
  • The works of Rinser’s that are available in English include her 1944 Prison Diary (Gefängnistagebuch), the novel Rings of Glass (Die gläsernen Ringe) — the only book that she had published during the Nazi era, and which was highly praised by Hermann Hesse –, Leave if You Can (Geh fort, wenn du kannst), a novella set in WWII Italy; as well as Abelard’s Love (Abaelards Liebe), a retelling of the story of Abelard and Heloise from the perspective of their son, and The Wounded Dragon (Der verwundete Drache), a dialogue between Rinser and Korean composer Isang Yun.  If you speak French, you’ll find the titles of additional works of hers that have been translated into French (but apparently not into English) on Rinser’s French Wikipedia page.
  • Elisabeth Mann Borgese (1918-2002): The youngest daughter and second youngest child of Thomas and Katia Mann, Elisabeth was musically gifted and originally wanted to become a pianist.  In 1939, after she and her parents had moved to the U.S., she married Italian antifascist writer and scholar Giuseppe Antonio Borgese, who was 36 years her senior, and whose 1937 book Goliath: The March of Fascism had deeply impressed her even before she had met him in person.  With her husband she worked on the “Preliminary Draft of a World Constitution”, published in 1948 by a committee that also included (inter alia) Richard McKeon, Robert Hutchins, Mortimer J. Adler, and Harold Innis.  Dividing her time between homes in the U.S., Italy, and Malta, in the 1960s and 1970s she was a fellow of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara, CA.  At the same time, she increasingly began to focus on maritime law and ocean conservation and pushed for the creation of the International Ocean Institute; in the final decades of her life, the preservation of the world’s oceans was the major focus of her work.  She was a co-founder of the Club of Rome, the only woman in the group, and a leading advocate for the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. — While Mann Borgese was a well-known personality in the international environmentalist, scientific, legal, and scholarly community for decades, a wider German audience became aware of her as a person, and of the fact that a child of Thomas Mann was still alive at the dawn of the 21st century, through the series of interviews that she gave for the Emmy Award-winning 2001 TV series Die Manns: Ein Jahrhundertroman, (“The Mann Family: A Century’s Novel”), which traces the history of the Mann family from Wilhelminian Germany and the Weimar Republic to exile in the U.S. and the post-WWII years.
  • Mann Borgese published a large number of works on ocean conservation and maritime law, both scholarly and popular in nature, including The Oceanic Circle, The Drama of the Oceans, the Club of Rome report The Future of the Oceans, and Pacem in maribus (“Peace in the Oceans”, a report for the first international conference on the law of the sea, held on the island of Malta in 1970), in addition to an interdisciplinary study of gender roles (Ascent of Woman) and the science fiction collection To Whom It May Concern.
  • Carola Stern (1925-2006): Enrolled in the Hitler Youth by her fanatically pro-Nazi mother, the writer who at birth had been named Erika Assmus  graduated from high school on the island of Usedom immediately before the end of WWII; by then already critical of the Nazi régime and those mindlessly supporting it, including herself in her own childhood and early youth.  Having found work in a Soviet-administered missile research center in Thuringia during the first years after the war, she was approached by the CIC (U.S. Army counter-intelligence) and agreed to spy for them; becoming, at the CIC’s behest, a member of the newly-founded East German socialist party (SED) and its youth organization FDJ (Freie Deutsche Jugend / “Free German Youth”), as well as a lecturer at its party academy outside of Berlin.  She was unmasked by a friend in 1951 and fled to West Berlin, where she studied politics and subsequently embarked on a career as a journalist, editor at a large Cologne publishing house, and writer.  After the Stasi had twice attempted to kidnap her, her work was initially published anonymously, identified by a line of three askterisks; this later (probably) inspired her choice of her new name (“Stern” is “star” or “asterisk” in English).  A lifelong campaigner for human rights, together with (inter alia) noted author and broadcast journalist Gerd Ruge she founded the German branch of Amnesty International.  She also edited — together with Nobel laureates Heinrich Böll and Günter Grass — a journal that became a platform for Czech writers after the 1968 “Prague Spring”.  In 1971, she joined a highly public 1971 abortion rights campaign; and later in life, she headed the German section of PEN International.
  • The focus of Stern’s work as a writer was, on the one hand, the recent history and then-contemporary politics of Germany, especially communist East Germany — her biography of its first ruler, Walter Ulbricht, currently seems to be the only book of hers available in English translation, though she also wrote highly-acclaimed biographies of West German politicians, most notably Willy Brandt –; on the other hand, the lives and biographies of historical women (and occiasionally men) who had beaten the odds and overcome racial and / or sexual bias to make their mark: e.g., she authored biographies of three of the 19th century women writers listed on page 1 of this post (Rahel Varnhagen, Dorothea Schlegel, and Johanna Schopenhauer), as well as a biography of Fritzi Massary and dual biographies of, inter alia, Helene Weigel and Bertolt Brecht.  She published two autobiographies, In den Netzen der Erinnerung (“In Memory’s Webs”) and Doppelleben (“Double Life”).
  • Inge Jens (1927-2021): One of post-WWII Germany’s most significant literary editors and biographers and, together with her equally well-known but more controversial husband Walter Jens, among the foremost experts on the Mann family of writers.  She was the editor of Thomas Mann’s diaries, published a book about his life and world as a writer (Am Schreibtisch — “At His Desk”); and together with her husband, she authored biographies of Thomas Mann’s wife Katia and his mother in law, flamboyant actress Hedwig Pringsheim (Frau Thomas Mann and Katias Mutter, respectively).  Based on the experience of her husband’s dementia, she also published a memoir of Walter Jens’s final years and their marriage during those final years. — The only books in which she had a hand that seem to be available in English are the collection of the letters and diaries of Hans and Sophie Scholl, the founders of the White Rose resistance movement, which Inge Jens edited — At the Heart of the White Rose (Hans und Sophie Scholl: Briefe und Aufzeichnungen) –, as well as a tract jointly authored by her husband and theologian Hans Küng on voluntary euthanasia, Dying with Dignity (Menschenwürdig sterben), to which she contributed.
  • Brigitte Hamann (1940-2016): A noted historian who, German by birth, married an Austrian history scholar and spent the rest of her life in her husband’s native country, where she said, her German upbringing provided her with a healthy dose of detachment to the subjects of her writing.  Her focus was, on the one hand, the Habsburg dynasty — particularly Empresses Maria Theresia and Elizabeth, aka “Sissi”, as well as the latter’s son, Crown Prince Rudolf — on the other hand the history of Austria during the first half of the 20th century, including and in particular the origin and rise of Adolf Hitler.  Another notable work of hers is her biography of Nobel Peace laureate Bertha von Suttner (see page 1 of this post, 19th century writers).  Several of her books have been translated into English, including her biographies of Empress Elisabeth and Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria — The Reluctant Empress (Elisabth: Kaiserin wider Willen) and Rudolf: Crown Prince and Rebel (Rudolf: Kronprinz und Rebell) –, as well as, on Hitler’s early years and his entourage, Hitler’s Vienna: A Dictator’s Apprenticeship (Hitlers Wien: Lehrjahre eines Diktators) and Winifred Wagner: A Life at the Heart of Hitler’s Bayreuth (Winifred Wagner oder Hitlers Bayreuth); and last but not least, Bertha Von Suttner: A Life for Peace (Bertha von Suttner: Ein Leben für den Frieden).
  • Ingeborg Bachmann (1927-1973): She was Austrian, and far be it from me to appropriate her as a German national; but she was one of the most significant German speaking post-WWII writers, so she absolutely belongs on this list.  Bachmann has been compared to Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf — Sylvia Plath is more on the money than Woolf IMHO.  Her literary legacy comprises poetry, radio plays, literary criticism and other nonfiction, including and in particular five lectures on the role of the writer and on contemporary literature that she held at Frankfurt University, as well as several works of prose fiction.  She was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature, but before the Swedish Academy had made up its mind, she died from the aftereffects of a fire caused when she fell asleep while smoking in bed; the severe prescription barbiturate dependency that she had developed in her final years almost certainly was a contributing factor both in the causation of the fire and in her death, as her condition had gone unrecognized in the hospital where she was treated.  A substantial amount of her work has been translated into English, including:
  • Christa Wolf (1929-2011): Arguably East Germany’s most important writer both in the RDA and in the first decades after reunification.  The Stasi recruited her as an informer in the early years of her career, but all three reports that she submitted were so positive in nature with regard to the person she’d been set to spy on that she was soon dropped and, in turn, incurred close Stasy scrutiny herself.  While a lifelong socialist, she grew increasingly critical of the RDA’s leadership, opposing, for example, the expulsion of poet, lyricist and singer-songwriter Wolf Biermann.  In the summer and fall of 1989, while calling for reform, she opposed reunification, which she saw as “selling out” East German society and values; not an attitude universally welcomed at the time.  Wolf’s most important works, all of which are available in English translation, include:
    • Divided Heaven (Der geteilte Himmel, also translated as They Divided the Sky) — on the effects of the construction of the Berlin Wall;
    • The Quest for Christa T. (Nachdenken über Christa T.) — a critical retrospective of East German society during the first decades of the RDA and its effect on the individual; the novel’s protagonist is modelled on a friend of Wolf’s and the narrator an alter ego of Wolf herself;
    • Wolf’s feminist rewrites of the stories of two women from Greek mythology, the alleged arch-villain Medea (and implicitly, the myth of Jason and the Argonauts), as well as the unhappy seer Cassandra (and implicitly, the story of the Trojan War);
    • Accident: A Day’s News (Störfall: Nachrichten eines Tages) — where Wolf contrasts the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster with personal tragedies such as death from cancer;
    • What Remains (Was bleibt) — a novella written in 1979 and topicalizing Wolf’s surveillance by the Stasi, which was however only published in 1990 and, not least due to the simultaneous revelation of her own early Stasi informer activities, caused a huge conflict concerning the role that writers — including, in particular, but not limited to Wolf herself — had played in communist East Germany and more generally, ought to play in society in general and in a dictatorial society in particular; spurred on by (West) Germany’s “Pope of Literature” (“Literaturpapst”), influential critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki; and
    • In the Flesh (Leibhaftig) — Wolf’s response to the aforementioned conflict, which had affected her profoundly, both psychologically and physically, and which had caused her to totally withdraw from the public eye for several years.
  • Sarah Kirsch (1935-2013): A close friend of Christa Wolf’s, and in her own right, considered one of the leading German-speaking poets of her generation.  Like Wolf, she protested the expulsion of Biermann; and as she was the first on the list of writers to sign the protest letter, she promptly was stripped of her RDA passport in turn.  In West Germany, she eventually settled in the northern region of Schleswig-Holstein.  Her poems have been published in English translation in (as far as I can see) three collections, Conjurations, Winter Music, and Ice Roses; and there is also at least one prose work of hers that has been translated: The Panther Woman (Die Pantherfrau), an interview-based record of five East German women’s lives.
  • Monika Maron (* 1941): The stepdaughter of Ulbricht-era RDA Minister of the Interior, Karl Maron, together with Stasi chief Erich Mielke and Ulbricht’s successor-to-be, Erich Honecker, one of the architects of the policy that culminated in the construction of the Berlin Wall.  As Monika Maron’s criticism of East Germany’s political leadership grew, she made a point of stressing her last name on its second syllable (instead of the first one like in her stepfather’s case).  Her first novel, Flight of Ashes (Flugasche), was instantly banned in East Germany for its criticism of the massive chemical pollution in the Bitterfeld industrial area; it is considered the first East German novel to address environmental issues head-on.  She left the RDA after having grown irreconcilably estranged from its political system, but returned to Berlin, where she’d been living for most of her life, after the German reunification.  In recent years she has acquired a somewhat controversial reputation; she has openly avowed a fear of Islam, which some interpret as Islamophobia, and some contacts of hers that are considered right-wing have occasioned a change of publisher when her publisher of 40 years, S. Fischer Verlag — the company founded by Jewish publisher Samuel Fischer, which is perhaps best known for Thomas Mann’s works — dropped her on account those contacts (and, some say, also on account of certain public comments of hers that suggested a leaning towards the far right). — Besides Flight of Ashes, the works of Maron’s that are available in English translation include:
    • Pavel’s Letters (Pawels Briefe), a paen to her Jewish maternal grandfather, who had been deported to, and murdered in a Polish ghetto;
    • Animal Triste, a novella concerning a middle-aged woman’s reflections on her obsessive and initially exstatically happy, but increasingly desperate love affair with a married man;
    • The Defector (Die Überläuferin), where Maron takes the social claustrophobia engendered by the political system of the RDA all the way into her protagonist’s mind and makes it personal; and
    • Silent Close No. 6 (Stille Zeile Sechs), Maron’s final settling of scores with the RDA’s political system and with her stepfather’s generation of leadership.
  • Eva Strittmater (1930-2011): Another one of East Germany’s well-known writers; she published general fiction, poetry, and children’s literature, often — especially in her poetry — as an imagined dialogue with representatives of Eurasian culture and history.  She was well-connected in both the domestic and international literary scene, counting among her friends and acquaintances not only Christa Wolf but also Russian dissident writer Lev Kopelev and Icelandic Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness.  As far as I can see, unfortunately none of her work has been translated into English; but her English Wikipedia bio (linked to her name at the beginning of this paragraph) includes a list of her published works, and according to her French Wiki bio at least two of her poetry collections have been translated into French. — As a side note, can you imagine first growing up in Nazi Germany and then having to spend years enrolled at an East German university, having been graced at birth with the name Eva Braun?  No wonder she married the first chance she got and kept her second husband’s name even after their divorce …
  • Renate Holland-Moritz (1935-2017): East Germany’s most prominent movie critic — also one of the world’s overall longest-serving movie critics, longer even than Roger Ebert, Gene Siskel, and Richard Roeper –, whose movie reviews appeared in the satirical magazine Eulenspiegel (named for the famous medieval German prankster) from 1960 – 2015, two years before her death.  In addition, she was a highly popular author of satirical novels and short stories.  None of her books, unfortunately, seem to have been translated (into any other languages than German at all); but given her popularity, she just has to be included in this list.
  • Ines Veith (* 1955): A journalist and screenwriter chiefly known for her campaigns on behalf of East German parents who had lost their children when they were away by the authorities and given to other (typically “loyal”) parents to be adopted by them, without any notice to the birth parents as to their children’s new whereabouts.  Of the two cases she portrayed in book form — under the titles Wo ist Dirk? (“Where Is Dirk?”) and Die Frau am Checkpoint Charlie (“The Woman at Checkpoint Charlie”) –, the second one in particular gained an enormous amount of notoriety and directed public attention to this routine aspect of the RDA government’s policy; not least because the “stolen” children’s birth mother in that particular case had, once the West German government had negotiated her own (but not her daughters’) resettlement to West Germany — embarked on a highly publicized campaign of her own, with daily demonstrations at the Checkpoint Charlie border crossing in central Berlin.  Veith eventually adapted her book into the screenplay for a TV movie of the same name.  Her books don’t seem to have been translated into English, but there is a French version of Die Frau am Checkpoint Charlie entitled Un mur entre nos vies. — Veith’s other writing includes various other TV screenplays and associated books, including on historical subjects, as well as a political thriller, a book on an East German women’s prison, and a book associated with a philosophy instruction project that she initiated.
  • Herta Müller (* 1953): The 2009 Literature Nobel laureate; a member of the German-speaking minority in the Banat and Transylvania regions of Romania, who frequently topicalizes violence and terror; particularly of the sort that she and those closest to her were subjected to by the brutal Ceaușescu regime and at the hands of its ruthless secret police, the Securitate.  After a prolongued campaign of persecution and censorship for her writing in Romania, she was permitted to emigrate to West Germany in 1987.  She is a highly vocal critic of Vladimir Putin, whom she has called “a KGB-indoctrinated dictator with a taste for a personality cult” („KGB-sozialisierter Diktator mit Personenkultallüren“) and whose politics, she says, “makes her phyiscally sick”.  When, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Alice Schwarzer (see below) and other public figures in Germany published an open letter calling for peace negotiations, Müller countered with an appeal of her own; urging the German government to firmly stand by the side of Ukraine and saying that “their cause is also our cause”. — A large part of Müller’s writing is available in English translation, including:
  • Elfriede Jelinek (* 1946): The winner of the 2004 Literature Nobel Prize; Austrian, but as in Ingeborg Bachmann’s case (above), this list just wouldn’t be complete without her.  A feminist with a Communist bent, she’s a vocal critic of Austrian society, which in her opinion has never entirely shed its Nazi heritage; a fact that she sees reflected in the sustained success of the right-wing party formed by Jörg Haider.  Her writing focuses on the absurdity of society’s clichés, the violence of human relationships and its causes, and women’s lives.  The works of Jelinek’s that have been translated into English include:
    • The Piano Teacher (Die Klavierspielerin): A novel about an emotionally repressed woman who eventually lives out her violent sexual fantasies in a relationship with a much younger man who also is a student of hers.
    • Wonderful, Wonderful Times (Die Ausgesperrten): Violence again, this time in the shape of a group of teenagers’ gratuitous attack on a stranger, as well as a violent marriage (vicious domestic abuse and then some), all 1950s’ Austria and in response to the breakdown of Austrian society in WWII and its aftermath.
    • Lust and Women in Love (Die Liebhaberinnen): Two novels that both portray spousal abuse as a metaphor for capitalism (and, of course, as a symbol of society’s inherent misogyny).
    • Princess Plays (Der Tod und das Mädchen: Prinzessinnendramen): A collection of several plays where Jelinek not so much rewrites the source material of old but uses the example of several fairy tale princesses (e.g., Snow White and Sleeping Beauty), as well as an apparent modern-day real life princess — Jackie Kennedy — in order to show how the “princess” cliché pervades every aspect of their lives, culminating in a merger of death and sex for those who let men — their would-be rescuers — control their lives, whereas those who are essentially self-determined succeed evading death, even when on the brink of destruction.
    • Her Not All Her (er nicht als er): A short play examining the fragmentation expressed in Robert Walser’s prose where, for example, pronouns such as “I” and “he” or “her” are divorced from the person to whom they seem to relate.
    • Charges (Die Schutzbefohlenen): Jelinek uses elements of Aischylos’s drama The Suppliant Women in order to challenge the response of Western societies to the plight of the masses of refugees fleeing to Europe and North America from their hunger- and war-ridden home countries elsewhere on the globe.
    • Three Plays: Rechnitz, The Merchant’s Contracts, Charges (Rechnitz: Der Würgeengel / Die Kontrakte des Kaufmanns / Die Schutzbefohlenen): A collection of three plays, combining Charges (above) with a play about the — real, historical — massacre of 180 Jews in a town on the Austrian / Hungarian border, as well as a comedy of manners in which a small merchant, confused by the overwhelming babble surrounding him, ends up a loser on the stage of global economy.  (Rechnitz and The Merchant’s Contracts have also been published together in a two-play edition.)
    • Fury (Wut): Jelinek’s response, in the form of a play, to the violent antisemitism and hatred of Western society that drives Islamic terrorism, such as expressed in the 2015 attacks on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and on a Jewish supermarket.
    • Sports Play (Ein Sportstück): A play examining the objectification and commercialization of the individual by contemporary sports and beauty culture.
  • Alice Schwarzer (* 1942): The face of women’s lib in Germany; she’s Germany’s version of Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Marilyn French, and Susan Sontag rolled into one.  A friend of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, she founded Germany’s most influential feminist magazine, EMMA, in 1977, headed up Germany’s most highly visible abortion rights campaign (also in the 1970s), advocates the prohibition of pornography — but on the other hand also advocates for the legalization of brothels, as this would guarantee the sex workers employed there access to basic social services –. and in recent years, has taken a position highly critical of political islamism and in favor of women’s equality in Islamic societies.  She has published several books advocating women’s rights and position in society, as well as biographies of prominent women, including Marion Gräfin Dönhoff (further above) and actress Romy Schneider.  The only one of her books that seems to be available in English is her series of interviews with Simone de Beauvoir, After the Second Sex (Simone de Beauvoir: Weggefährtinnen im Gespräch); though at least one of the most significant of her feminist works is available in French: La petite différence et ses conséquences (Der kleine Unterschied und seine großen Folgen), a collection of women’s life experiences from the 1970s compiled as part of Schwarzer’s campaign for abortion rights.
  • Brigitte Kronauer (1940-2019):  A multiple award-winning novelist and fiction writer active in the final two decades of the Cold War and the first two decades after the German reunification, whose effortlessly satirical prose style has sometimes been compared to that of Romantic writer Jean Paul.  As far as I can see, none of her novels is available in English, but there are two short story collections — Women and Clothes (Die Kleider der Frauen) — and Constructs of Desire, a cross section of her short fiction.
  • Elke Heidenreich (* 1943): One of contemporary Germany’s most influential representatives of the literary world.  She made her debut in the 1970s on the state-wide broadcast channel of North-Rhine Westphalia (WDR / Westdeutscher Rundfunk) — my local station; I practically grew up with her satirical radio commentary on current events and on society in the guise of a down-to-earth Ruhr Valley butcher’s wife named Else Stratmann.  She then became a columnist with one of Germany’s leading women’s magazines, Brigitte, where she did much the same as in the Else Stratmann sketches in a series of featured articles headed “Also …” (“Well …”).  More recently, she has been hosting literature-related shows on German and Swiss TV.  Book-form collections of her Else Stratmann and Brigitte features were first published in the 1980s; in 1992, she made her debut as a fiction author.  Unfortunately, only very little of her writing has been translated into English (or French, for that matter); the only books that seem to be available are her lovely cat story, Nero Corleone, and Some Folk Think the South Pole’s Hot: The Three Tenors Play the Antarctic (Am Südpol, denkt man, ist es heiß), a long satirical poem on climate change, the generational conflict, and the power of music, illustrated by Quint Buchholz.  French speakers can sample her writing in a collection of short stories named Dos au monde (Der Welt den Rücken).
  • Monika Held (* 1943): A journalist and writer whose focus includes working class lives and working conditions, as well as post-WWII Germany’s struggle to contend with the Nazi heritage, and, more recently, the ageing process.  The only one of her books that seems to be available in translation is This Place Holds No Fear (Der Schrecken verliert sich vor Ort), a novel about the meeting between a Holocaust survivor testifying at the 1964 Frankfurt Auschwitz trials and a woman working as a court translator, for whom the trials — and the conversations with the male protagonist (with whom she falls in love) are an “everyday German”‘s first confrontation with the horrors of the Holocaust and its traumatic after-effects.
  • Ursula Krechel (* 1947): An author of poetry and prose (novels, drama, essays, etc.), as well as lecturer and writer in residence at universities in Germany, the U.S., the UK, and Israel; her work focuses on women’s role in society, violence in war, marriage, and society, and Germany’s Nazi legacy.  The only work of hers that seems to be available in English is the poetry collection Voices from the Bitter Core (Stimmen aus dem harten Kern); French speakers will also be able to sample her awardwinning novel Terminus Allemagne (Landgericht), which deals with a couple’s struggle to rebuild their marriage, and the husband’s struggle to find a new start in Germany, after he — a Jew and former judge — has returned from exile in Havana after WWII, finding his wife (who, not Jewish herself, had stayed in Germany) to since have become a successful business woman, and their children shipped off to the UK as part of the “Kindertransport”.  The novel was adapted into a TV movie in 2017.
  • Eva Heller (1948-2008): A novelist, cartoonist, author of children’s books, and communications expert who is considered one of the pioneers of cheeky, ironic women’s fiction in postwar Germany (think Bridget Jones with a more pronounced satirical bite).  Her awardwinning novel With the Next Man Everything Will Be Different (Beim nächsten Mann wird alles anders) seems to be the only work of hers that was translated into English.
  • Sibylle Lewitscharoff (1954-2023): A renowned prose stylist, who initially wrote for broadcast media (including and in particular radio plays), published her first prose work in print in 1994, and, four years later, her first novel, Pong, which was an instant success (but which nevertheless to date has apparently not yet been translated into English).  She made headlines in 2014 by highly provocative comments she made in the context of an address on reproductive rights and artificial insemination, for the tone of which comments she later apologized, without, however, retracting their substantive contents. — As far as I can see, two novels of hers are available in English translation: Blumenberg — the story of a professor haunted by appearances of a lion — and the part-autobiographical Apostoloff, which deals with two sisters’ trip to Sofia to bury their Bulgarian-born father.  Two other books of hers have been translated into French, namely, Killmousky, her only venture into crime fiction, and a children’s book, the travel fantasy Der höfliche Harald (French title: Harald le courtois).
  • Doris Dörrie (* 1955): A writer, film director, producer and screenwriter who burst into West Germany’s collective national conscience in the 1980s with the movie Men … (Männer), a film that — like the fiction of Eva Heller (above) — satirizes male-female relationships from a female perspective (often with midlife crisis as part and parcel of the setup).  Some of her fiction has similar topics and a simiar perspective as well, though she is also interested in stories of cultural estrangement and enlightenment more generally, including and in particular characters moving between Asia and the West.  Many of her movies are available in English (or with English subtitles), including Naked (Nackt), Cherry Blossoms (Kirschblüten), Greetings from Fukushima (Grüße aus Fukushima), and Enlightenment Guaranteed (Erleuchtung garantiert). — Several of her works of fiction are available in translation as well, including the novel Where Do We Go From Here? (Was machen wir jetzt?), the short story collections What Do You Want From Me? (Was wollen Sie von mir?) and Love, Pain and The Whole Damn Thing (Liebe Schmerz und das ganze verdammte Zeug), and the children’s book Lottie’s Princess Dress (Lotte will Prinzessin sein), book 1 of a five-book series centering on a primary school-aged girl called Lott(i)e.
  • Utta Danella (1920-2015) and Marie Louise Fischer (1922-2005): Postwar Germany’s reigning queens of popular fiction and romance novels.  Together with their (de-facto) male counterparts  Johannes Mario Simmel and Heinz G. Konsalik, they revitalized and cornered the market for the popular fiction treatment of everything from romance and family to adventure and war (and in Simmel’s case, also contemporary politics); their novels’ protagonists were typically women — and in Fischer’s case, frequently also teenage girls — who successfully overcome an internal or external crisis to find a “happily ever after” ending; including (of course), in case of their grown-up protagonsists, love.  Both authors’ works have been adapted for the screen with great success. — Fischer, in the guise of an alleged male MD, for a few years also gave advice on sex and relationships in Germany’s most popular teenage magazine (Bravo) and published etiquette books for girls; like her fiction for teenagers, these guides reflected popular stereotypes and beliefs of the day, such as the notion that homosexuality is “curable” and the dictum that rebellion and independence in teenagers (particularly girls) is undesirable.
  • Neither author’s books seem to have been translated into English, though some (in Fischer’s case: many) of them are available in French.  In Danella’s case, these include her breakthrough success L’étoile du matin (Stella Termogen oder die Versuchungen der Jahre), as well as Adieu, Jean Claude (Niemandsland), L’ombre de l’aigle (Der Schatten des Adlers), Une vie de femme (Gestern oder die Stunde nach Mitternacht), Le lac de Constance (Jacobs Frauen), Carrière (Regina auf den Stufen), and Oublie si tu veux vivre (Vergiß, wenn du leben willst). — Marie Louise Fischer’s French Wikipedia page includes an exhaustive list of those of her books that are available in French translation.
  • Charlotte Link (* 1963): A writer of popular, historical, and crime fiction; arguably, Germany’s answer to Rosamunde Pilcher — including in terms of settings; many of her books, especially her mysteries, are set in the UK.  The two historical novels of hers that are available in French translation are listed in my post on German women writers of historical fiction; the standout among her works set in the 20th century is her Stormy Season (Sturmzeit) trilogy, which — similar to Christine Brückner’s Quints trilogy and the memoirs of Marion Gräfin Dönhoff and Libussa Fritz-Krockow (further above) — traces the life of an upper middle class woman from her childhood as an affluent manufactuer’s daughter in Wilhelminian and Weimar Era Eastern Prussia through the Nazi regime, the mass exodus from Eastern Prussia to West Germany after WWII, to postwar Germany and, finally, German reunification.  The trilogy was adapted for TV and a huge success both in book form and as a TV series.  I’m not sure whether it was ever translated into English; the French titles of the three books are Le temps des orages (Sturmzeit), Les Lupins sauvages (Wilde Lupinen), and L’heure de l’héritage (Die Stunde der Erben). — For that matter, Link’s other books don’t seem to be available in English, either: her English Wikipedia profile (see above link underlying her name) includes a list of title translations, but I think that’s really just what it is — a list of translations of the German titles –, not a list of actually translated books.  By contrast, the titles listed on Charlotte Link’s French Wikipedia page really are books that have been translated into French.
  • Hera Lind (* 1957): A trained musician and bestselling writer of chicklit and romance novels; in recent years she’s also published a number of novels reflecting dramatic real life events and destinies; e.g., the life stories of several women from East Germany and a victory over cancer.  I don’t think any of her novels have been translated into either English or French (though some of them seem to be available in other languages, e.g., Italian and Spanish); but she needs to be included in this list on account of her huge commercial success in Germany alone.
  • Inga Lindström (aka Christiane Sadlo, * 1954): A journaist, novelist, and screenwriter who has authored the screenplays for several of German TV’s highly successful adaptations of Rosamunde Pilcher’s novels, as well as for countless episodes of some of Germany’s most popular daytime soaps and also adaptations of a number of novels by Utta Danella (above).  Under the pen name Inga Lindström, she’s the author of romance novels set in Sweden, many of which have likewise been adapted for TV.  Similar story as with Hera Lind (above): I don’t think any of her works are available in translation, but she’s practically ubiquitous in Germany, so she obviously needs to be included in this list.
  • Karen Duve (* 1961): A self-taught, versatile novelist whose fiction ranges from feminist books and other books based on aspects of contemporary society and trends to dystopia, humor, children’s books, and nonfiction.  As far as I can see, three works of hers have been translated into English: her debut Rain (Regenroman), which is set shortly after the German reunification and features a young writer whose life breaks apart when he moves to an East German village, trying to retreat in order to fulfill a commission to write a mobster’s memoirs; as well as This Is Not a Love Song ( Dies ist kein Liebeslied), in which a middle-aged woman confronts society’s expectations of women and questions just what “normal” means as relating to them, and The Prepper Room (Macht), a dystopia combining eco-pessimism and feminism.
  • Elke Schmitter (* 1961): A journalist and novelist whose fiction follows the tradition of the great 19th century novelists, such as Flaubert and Fontane.  Her biggest international success is the marriage drama Mrs. Sartoris (Frau Sartoris), which has been called a contemporary update of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary; it also seems to be the only book of hers available in English, though another novel of hers — a portrait of contemporary Berlin society — is at least available in French: Légers manquements (Leichte Verfehlungen).
  • Dörte Hansen (* 1964): A native of Frisia whose first language was not standard German but Low German (Low Saxon), Hansen is a journalist and writer whose fiction focuses on regional and geographical identification and on the meaning of the word “home”.  Her breakthrough novel This House Is Mine (Altes Land), which was adapted for TV, contrasts the perspective of a woman who, after WWII, has fled to Northern Germany from Eastern Prussia, and that of her niece, who has “fled” to the countryside from big city life in Hamburg.  Hansen has published several other novels in the interim, but none of them seem to be available in English translation.
  • Jenny Erpenbeck (* 1967): A native of (East) Berlin and a highly-regarded opera director in addition to her career as a writer, Erpenbeck’s fiction examines German society from past to present, from that of the Weimar and Nazi eras of her writer grandmother and father, to that East Germany in which she herself grew up, and finally to that of the reunified Germany in which she now finds herself.  Several of her books have been translated into English; almost all of them have won prestigious awards:
    • Visitation (Heimsuchung) — a kaleidoscope of German history focusing on a house once owned by Erpenbeck’s grandparents and its inhabitants;
    • The End of Days (Aller Tage Abend) — a novel similarly tracing German history through the stories of five interrelated protagonists;
    • The Book of Words (Wörterbuch) — a novella describing a girl’s coming of age in an unnamed dictatorial country (probably modelled on Argentina and Chile under Pinochet), where nothing is as it seems, memory is dangerous, and people live in constant fear;
    • Kairos — set during the collapse of the RDA and contrasting the societies of East and West Germany;
    • Go, Went, Gone (Gehen, ging, gegangen) — topicalizes the current refugee crisis in Western Europe; and
    • Not a Novel: A Memoir in Pieces (Kein Roman: Texte 1992 bis 2018) — a collection of essays and part-memoir of the first two decades after reunification.
  • Katharina Hagena (* 1967): A writer and literary scholar who has published three novels to date, all of them highly-regarded.  Her first novel The Taste of Apple Seeds (Der Geschmack von Apfelkernen), which deals with memory and forgetting, and the meaning of family, was an instant international success and was adapted for the big screen.  Her other two novels were not translated into English, but if you speak French, you can read them in that language: L’envol du héron (Vom Schlafen und Verschwinden) deals — as the German title (“Of Sleeping and Vanishing”) indicates — with sleep and its deprivation, and with the interconnection of human lives; and in Le bruit de la lumière (Das Geräusch des Lichts), a lady waiting for her appointment in a doctor’s waiting room invents fictional life stories and fictional worlds for the five people sitting there together with her and waiting for their own appointments in turn.
  • Annette Hess (* 1967): A screenwriter first and foremost, Hess authored the screenplays for several well-known movies and TV series, most notably the screen adaptation of Ines Veith’s Die Frau am Checkpoint Charlie (“The Woman at Checkpoint Charlie” — see further above), as well as Weißensee, a TV series set in East Berlin that Hess herself has described as “Dallas in the RDA”, and a multiple-episode adaptation of Christiane F.’s memoir Autobiography of a Girl of the Streets and Heroin Addict (below).  Her debut novel The German House (Deutsches Haus) focuses on a translator at the 1963-64 Auschwitz trial who finds herself confronted with her own family’s history as a result of what she learns during the trial.
  • Christiane F. (* 1962): Christiane Felscherinow became the symbol of 1970s/80s teenage drug culture when, based on interviews with two reporters, her autobiography up to age 13, Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo (H. Autobiography of a Child Prostitute and Heroin Addict / Christiane F.: Autobiography of a Girl of the Streets and Heroin Addict / Zoo Station: The Story of Christiane F.), was published, became an instant bestseller, and was shortly thereafter made into a movie with real appearances by David Bowie, whose music Christiane and her friends revered. — I remember being glued to both the book’s pages and to my seat at the cinema with a mix of fascination and horror: for one thing, Christiane was my generation, just a few years older than me, yet, her life couldn’t have been any more different than mine (in fact, I had no idea that her world even existed); and then, on the other hand, I knew the place that was the center of her world, Berlin’s Zoo Station, very well … yet, to me it had always been just a huge international train station. — Felscherinow was a one hit wonder for all the wrong reasons; she muddled through the rest of her life but never really managed (nor does she seem to have had the will power) to put her life back together.  A second memoir published 34 years later, apparently not translated into English but available in French, recounts her life “after the book”: Moi, Christiane F., la vie malgré tout (Christiane F.: Mein zweites Leben — “My Second Life”).
  • Julia Franck (* 1970): Born in East Berlin but having grown up in West Germany, Franck frequently draws on her own experience and that of her family in her novels; including in the three that were translated into English, all of which won or were nominated for important book prizes:
    • Based on the Slav legend of Lady Midday and on the early life of Franck’s father, The Blindness of the Heart (Die Mittagsfrau) traces the life of the protagonist and those of several characters interlocking with hers during the Weimar Republic and the Nazi era, exploring in hindsight how the protagonist comes to abandon her young son at a train station at the beginning of the book.
    • Back to Back (Rücken an Rücken) explores the German post-WWII East-West dychotomy and broken dreams and a broken family in East Germany.
    • In West (Lagerfeuer), a young East German mother’s path crosses with those of other residents of the refugee processing center where (like all East Germans resettling in the West, including Franck’s own family) she has to spend the first several weeks of her stay.
  • Nina George (* 1973): Having gone from high school dropout to one of Germany’s internationally bestselling contemporary novelists, George’s novels all show the healing power of books, friends, and travel; be it physical or in dreams.  In Germany, she also writes books under several pen names (one of them, a mystery series she writes together with her husband under the name Jean Bagnol), but the for books that, to date, have been translated into English were all published under her own name: The Little Paris Bookshop (Das Lavendelzimmer) and its tie-in The Little Village of Book Lovers (Südlichter), as well as The Little French Bistro (Die Mondspielerin) and The Book of Dreams (Das Traumbuch).
  • Juli Zeh (* 1974): A lawyer with a PhD in international law and currently an honorary associate judge at the Constitutional Court of the State of Brandenburg, Zeh is one of Germany’s currently most politically vocal writers; most recently, she signed the open letter initiated by Alice Schwarzer (further above) advocating peace negotiations in lieu of armed support for Ukraine.  Oddly, while several of her novels have been translated into English, her arguably most important one, Unterleuten, to date is only available in French (and several other languages) … whereas its de-facto sequel was translated into English:
    • Unterleuten (Brandebourg in its French translation) is a sketch of German society after reunification, condensed to the level of an East German village and seen from and East German perspective, but as narrated by a writer born and raised in West Germany. Literally the book’s title translates as “Amongpeople” in English; it’s both a reference to the name of the fictional Brandenburg village that is the book’s setting and to its community, which includes POV characters from both parts of Germany.  The novel was adapted for TV; there is also a stage version.
    • About People (Über Menschen) is also set in a Brandenburg village; through the eyes of a big city girl who has fled there, defying COVID regulations, Zeh examines the motivations of the village’s overwhelmingly right-wing population. (The book’s German title is a play on words; “über” means both “about” and “superior”, and “Übermenschen” is Nazi terminology for the allegedly superior Aryan race.)
    • Eagles and Angels (Adler und Engel) was Zeh’s first novel; it’s a story of the destructive power of cocaine and of political corruption.
    • Dark Matter (Schilf), also published in English as In Free Fall) is a metaphysical thriller combining crime, temptation, and the laws of physics.
    • The Method (Corpus Delicti: Ein Prozess) is a dystopia set in a totalitarian health-crazy state that controls every aspect of its citizens’ lives.
    • Decompression (Nullzeit) is, in the words of its blurb, “a psychological thriller in the tradition of Patricia Highsmith about two couples caught in a web of conflicting passions while deep-sea diving off the beautiful Canary Islands” — judging by the reviews, readers’ responses are very much like those to Highsmith’s books, too (pretty much “love it or hate it”).
    • New Year (Neujahr) is also a psychological thriller, in which a panic attack in the middle of a bike ride during a family vacation on the island of Lanzarote (Canary Islands) suddenly brings back the protagonist’s cataclysmic memories of a traumatic event in his own childhood.
    • Empty Hearts (Leere Herzen) is a “near future” dystopian thriller set in a post-Trump, post-Brexit and post-Frexit (French exit from the EU) world in the grip of a global financial crisis, mass refugee migration, all-encompassing egotism, and ultra-populist movements, including the one that is governing Germany at the time when the book is set.
  • Judith Hermann (* 1970): A trained journalist who published her first short story collection, a highly-praised paen to the 1990s Berlin arts scene titled Summerhouse, Later, in 1998, and whose writing almost singlehandedly caused a renaissance of that particular form of writing in Germany.  To date, four short story collections and one novel of hers have been translated into English: Summerhouse, Later (Sommerhaus, später), Nothing But Ghosts (Nichts als Gespenster), Letti Park (Lettipark), Alice, and Where Love Begins (Aller Liebe Anfang = the novel).
  • Dunja Hayali (* 1974): a journalist who is one of Germany’s most outspoken LGBT+ and human rights activists. Her primary platform is public television, but she has also written numerous articles and features (including and in particular online) and published two books: one (Haymatland: Wie wollen wir zusammenleben?), a critical discussion of contemporary German society and an argument against racism and xenophobia (the title is a play on the word “Heimatland” — “homeland”), and the other one (Is’ was, Dog? — roughly, “What’s up, Dog?”) a paen to her beloved labrador retriever Emma.  Neither book has been translated into English to date, but given Hayali’s status and public recognition, this list just wouldn’t be complete without her.
  • Katja Hoyer (* 1985): A historian born in East Germany who today lives in England; she is a scholar at King’s College and Fellow of the Royal Society and, in addition, a Washington Post columnist.  She has published two books about Germany’s recent history, the titles of both of which are self-explanatory: Blood and Iron: The Rise and Fall of the German Empire and Beyond the Wall: East Germany, 1949-1990.
  • Emine Sevgi Özdamar (* 1946): A major representative of German immigrant literature and also a highly-regarded theatrical director, Özdamar was born in Turkey and traveled to Germany for the first time at 18, staying for several months (alone; unlike other immigrants without her family) and, after a temporary return to Turkey, moved here permanently after the 1971 military coup in the country of her birth.  Several of her works have been translated into English, including her very first book, the short story collection Mother Tongue (Mutterzunge) and the first two books of her Instanbul-Berlin Trilogy, Life Is a Caravanserai (Das Leben ist eine Karawanserei) and The Bridge of the Golden Horn (Die Brücke vom Goldenen Horn).
  • Nino Haratischwili (* 1983): Born and raised in Georgia (not the U.S. state but the country in the Caucasus, south of Russia), Haratischwili first spent time in Germany as a refugee fleeing from the Georgian Civil War of the 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.  She returned to Georgia alone at age 14 to complete high school and take up a course of theatre studies, then came back to Germany in 2003 and has been living here ever since.  Of her works (all originally published in German), four have to date been published in English:
    • The Eighth Life (Das achte Leben (für Brilka)), a novel tracing the history of Georgia (and implicitly, Russia), with the focus on one particular family, from the early 20th century to modern times;
    • Juja, Haratischwili’s first novel, about teenage girl suicides from the 1950s to our time;
    • My Soul Twin (Mein sanfter Zwilling), Haratischwili’s take on Wuthering Heights … beginning in the 1970s, and with Georgian history and war reporting thrown in for good measure; and
    • The Literature Express (Der Literaturexpress), a satirical helter-skelter train ride across Europe, symbolizing the state of international literary culture and of the European Union, with a minor Georgian writer in the midst of it all.

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