Martin Baltscheit [ Germany ]
Martin Baltscheit was born in Düsseldorf in 1965. Having studied communications design, he revealed his many-faceted creative talents across media boundaries after completing his studies at the Folkwang School of Design in Essen. He made his début as an illustrator of comics, but he soon extended his activities into illustrating children’s books, acting and writing radio plays, cartoons, children’s books, books for young adults, prose and the theatre.
His classic books for children include the picture book ›The Story of the Lion Who Couldn’t Write‹ (2002), which tells the tale of a lion that has fallen in love and is searching for the right words for a love letter to his adored lioness. In this story he tackles the themes of individuality, being different, and the process of learning to write. Martin Baltscheit repeatedly questions the ‘canonised’ boundaries of category, genre, and medium, for example between children’s books and comics as with »Zarah: Du hast doch keine Angst, oder?« (2007; t: But, Zarah, you’re not afraid, are you?). Four friends of the main character, Zarah, try to play on her fears of monsters and bandits in the forest, not knowing that the outsider Zarah is already familiar with this world. Baltscheit also adopts new inter-media narrative strategies in his children’s book »Major Dux« (2007), a prose-jazz project in eight bars. It tells the story of Bartolomäus Bobs, as he unwittingly breaks the ban on music by whistling, and, while fleeing, discovers the city’s secret musical underworld. Martin Baltscheit’s current works mirror this variety of themes and styles, as can be seen in the reduced and intense red-black illustrations for »Die Dschungelbücher« (2008; t: The Jungle Books), as well as in his current book for young adults, »Ich und die Kanzlerin« (2009; t: The Chancellor And I), in which the fourteen year-old Jasmin Behringer recounts her time as an intern in the Chancellor’s Office training for her intended career as Germany’s future chancellor.
The awards he has received include a nomination for the Max and Moritz Prize for best German comic artist in 1996 and a nomination for the German Award for Children’s and Youth Literature in 2002 for »Der einzige Vogel, der die Kälte nicht fürchtet« (2001; t: The Only Bird Which Doesn’t Fear The Cold), written jointly with his friend, Zoran Drvenkar. In 2008, he was nominated for a second time and awarded the Hameln Literary Prize for another collaboration with Drvenkar, »Zarah: Du hast doch keine Angst, oder?« (2007; t: But, Zarah, you're not afraid, are you?). Martin Baltscheit lives with his family in his home city, Düsseldorf.
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