Guest 2015, 2017.


Bluemoon Baby

Edition Nautilus

Hamburg, 2001

Revolution und Heimarbeit

Edition Nautilus

Hamburg, 2003



Hamburg, 2008

Die Erfindung der Roten Armee Fraktion durch einen manisch-depressiven Teenager im Sommer 1969

Matthes & Seitz

Berlin, 2015

Direkt danach und kurz davor

Matthes & Seitz

Berlin, 2017

Frank Witzel [ Germany ]

Frank Witzel was born in 1955 in Wiesbaden, a town that – as the author, illustrator and musician once jokingly stated – »had nothing going for it in the sixties«. The multi-talented artist learned to play various instruments as a child, and started drawing and writing in his youth. He wrote poems, prose texts, essays and articles for cultural and literary magazines. His first volume of poetry »Stille Tage in Cliché« (tr. Quiet days in cliché), which he also illustrated, appeared in 1978, followed by a second volume »Tage ohne Ende« (tr. Endless days) in 1980. Although his early prose works – several stories and novel fragments – remain unpublished, they contain several elements central to his later work: delusional fantasies, scraps of memory, philosophical digressions and a lot of surreal figures, all trying to make it somehow in a confusing world.

In 2001 Witzel had his breakthrough with the novel »Bluemoon Baby«. In this satirical thriller, the author puts high school teacher Hugo Rhäs from Hesse at the center of a worldwide conspiracy, peppering this bizarre story with many philosophical and literary cross-references. Grotesque figures and crude conspiracy theories also feature in the 2003 sequel, »Revolution und Heimarbeit« (tr. Revolution and working from home), a »maelstrom of scrambled narrative threads, reflective levels and philosophical discourses« (»taz«). Together with Thomas Meinecke and Klaus Walter, Witzel published two collections of conversations, »Plattenspieler« (2005; tr. Record player) and »Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland« (2010; r. The Federal Republic of Germany), in which a range of topics, such as music and haircuts, are discussed as thoroughly as contemporary politics. Witzel’s novel »Vondenloh« (2008) tells of the absurd events surrounding the eponymous heroine, the writer Bettine Vondenloh, whose works are never longer than 120 pages. In 2015 Witzel published the brilliant 800-page novel »Die Erfindung der Roten Armee Fraktion durch einen manisch-depressiven Teenager im Sommer 1969« (tr. The Invention of the Baader-Meinhof Gang by a manic-depressive teenager in the summer of 1969), his most highly acclaimed work to date. In 98 chapters, switching rapidly back and forth between storylines, eras and themes, such as terrorism and pop music, Witzel created a »novel with a lasting effect« (»Süddeutsche Zeitung«), which received the Robert Gernhardt Preis in 2012 and the German Book Prize in 2015. Witzel’s latest novel »Direkt danach und kurz davor« (2017; tr. Immediately afterwards and shortly before) is set in post-war Germany; a polyphonic choir asks what really happened and tries to understand history through stories, drawing readers deeper and deeper into the abyss of historical events and forcing them to look at the horrors human beings are capable of.

Frank Witzel lives and works in Offenbach.