Ingo Schulze [ Germany ]
Ingo Schulze, born in Dresden in 1962, studied classics and German language and literature in Jena before working as dramatic arts advisor to the State Theatre in Altenburg. In 1990 he set up the »Altenburger Wochenblatt« and the »Anzeiger« in the east Thuringian city. In 1993, during a six-month residency in St. Petersburg – the setting for his first novel, »33 Augenblicke des Glücks« (1995; Eng. »33 Moments of Happiness«, 1998) – he founded the city’s first free advertising journal. His collection of short stories offers a kaleidoscopic panorama of the Russian metropolis set against the backdrop of the political changes of 1989.
In his later work too Schulze shows a particular interest in this turning point in history and in the conditions of hope and helplessness experienced by the people who unexpectedly became involved. At the same time, large connections are vividly wrought in the fine detail of things: »For me, literature means seeing the world in a drop of water«, the author has said.
Schulze reached an international audience through his »Simple Storys. Ein Roman aus der ostdeutschen Provinz« (1998; Eng. »Simple Stories: A Novel from the East German Provinces«, 1999). In the tradition of the American short story in the mode of Raymond Carver, the seemingly simple stories depict, in a laconic and direct style, the everyday life of some of the people of Altenburg as told from their own perspective. Without any »post fall-of-the-Wall whingeing«, as the »Stuttgarter Zeitung« enthused, the cracks that resulted from German reunification are portrayed in the biographies of many East Germans. The life history of the protagonists of »Neue Leben« (2007; Eng. »New Lives. The Youth of Enrico Türmer in Letters and Prose«) – an epistolary novel, edited by the fictional editor Ingo Schulze – also features such rifts: in the year 1990, the protagonist reports on his childhood in the GDR and his path from distraught writer to reckless businessman.
With »Handy – Dreizehn Geschichten in alter Manier« (t: Mobile phone: Thirteen stories in the old style) Schulze returned to the short story in 2007. At its centre lie the shifts and cracks that arise in friendships and romantic relationships in Berlin, New York, Cairo and elsewhere. Schulze’s latest novel »Adam und Evelyn« was published in August of this year. In it, the protagonists, whose names recall the myth of Adam and Eve, embark on a voyage to Lake Balaton just as the border to Hungary is opened in the summer of 1989.
Ingo Schulze has been awarded numerous prizes, including the aspekte Prize (1995), the Berlin Literature Prize (1998), the Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair (2007) and the Grinzane Cavour Prize (2008). His acceptance speech for the Thuringian Literature Prize in 2007 received much attention for denouncing the increasing »re-feudalisation« of the cultural establishment due to the society’s general economical restructuring. The author, whose work has been translated into thirty languages, and who was awarded a grant by the Villa Massimo in Rome in 2007, has been living in Berlin since 1993.
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