© Hartwig Klappert 

Maxim Biller   [ Germany ]

Maxim Biller was born in Prague in 1960. In 1970, after the violent end of the »Prague Spring«, his family moved to Germany. Biller studied literature in Hamburg and Munich. After graduating from the German School of Journalism, he wrote his first articles for »DIE ZEIT«, »Der Spiegel«, and »Tempo«, where he became famous with  his column »100 Zeilen Hass« (tr: 100 Lines of Hate). His collection »Die Tempojahre« (1991; tr: The Tempo Years) shows his biting critique of pop literature, scholarly texts, and the cushiness of post-‘68 »common sense«. More provocative observations followed with »Land der Väter und Verräter« (1994; tr: Country of Fathers and Traitors) and »Deutschbuch« (2001; tr: German Book), in which Biller polemizes issues such as the ritualization of current Holocaust memorials.

In the »Süddeutsche Zeitung«, Peter von Becker praised Biller’s first short story collection »Wenn ich einmal reich und tot bin« (1990; tr: Someday When I’m Rich and Dead): »Since the post-war novels by Wolfgang Koeppen, since Böll’s early prose, and since essays by Hannah Arendt, Adorno, Mitscherlich, and Hans Magnus Enzensberger, I have hardly read anything that would have struck the nerve of the time with such truth and humor…« The novel »Die Tochter« (2000; tr: The Daughter), a tale with flashbacks to a day spent in Munich, shows Biller as a novelist following in the footsteps of Joyce, Döblin, and Koeppen. In »Die Tochter«, a leitmotif of incest is threaded through the stream of consciousness narration of a father who thinks he recognizes his daughter in a sex film. Scandal shrouded the novel »Esra« (2003) when the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany prohibited its sale due to alleged personality rights violations. With »Bernsteintage« (2004; tr: Amber Days) and »Liebe heute« (2007; tr: Love Today) Biller returned to short literary texts, fusing fiction and reality through his playful, biographical style. More recently, he published »Der gebrauchte Jude« (2009; tr: The Used Jew), the novella »Im Kopf von Bruno Schulz« (2013; tr: In Bruno Schulz’s Head), »Biografie« (2016), and the family novel »Sechs Koffer« (2018; tr: Six Suitcases), which was nominated for the German Book Prize: »There have been few German-language publications in the last 30 years as light and playful, and at the same time as strict, gripping, and concise about what it means to be a family.« (»Spiegel Online«)

Biller has also published children’s books and plays as well as the »Maxim Biller Tapes« (2004), a CD of songs and poems. Biller spent 18 years writing the column »Moralische Geschichten« (tr. Moral Stories) for the »Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung «; today, he writes the column »Über der Linden« (tr. Above the Linden Trees) for »DIE ZEIT«. His works have been translated into 16 languages and have won many awards. In 2015/2016 he participated in the ZDF TV show »Literarische Quartett« (tr: Literary Quartet), and in 2018 he was the Heidelberg lecturer in poetry (»Poetikdozentur«). Biller lives in Berlin.



Wenn ich einmal reich und tot bin
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 1990

Die Tempojahre
München, 1991

Land der Väter und Verräter
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 1994

Harlem Holocaust
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 1998

Die Tochter
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 2000

München, 2001

München, 2001

Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 2003

Der perfekte Roman
München, 2003

Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 2004

Adas größter Wunsch
Berlin, 2005

Moralische Geschichten
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 2005

Menschen in falschen Zusammenhängen
Lengwil, 2006

Liebe heute
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 2007

Der gebrauchte Jude
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 2009.

Im Kopf von Bruno Schulz
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 2013

Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 2016

Hundert Zeilen Hass
Hoffmann & Campe
Hamburg, 2017

Sechs Koffer
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 2018

Literatur und Politik

Heidelberger Poetikvorlesungen
Universitätsverlag Winter
Heidelberg, 2018