Helme Heine

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Helme Heine (born 4 April 1941 in Berlin) is a German writer, children's book author, illustrator and designer. He is the brother of Ernst Wilhelm Heine. He has lived in New Zealand since 1990, occasionally writing film scripts, audio book scripts and working on satirical drawings and sculpture.


The young Helme (Christian name: Helmut) Heine studied history of art, along with marketing and management. Afterwards in the early 1960s, although planned, he did not take over the parental hotel in the moated castle "Wasserburg Düssel", in Wülfrath-Düssel, an old, small village at the town boundary to Wuppertal. Instead he went on tour and travelled through Europe, Asia and finally South Africa, where he settled down and worked in Johannesburg till 1977. Among other things he starred in Cabaret there, brought a satirical magazine out and took over the management of a theatre chain.

He began to paint at the beginning of the seventies; 1975 saw him develop his first children's book, the Elefanteneinmaleins (Elephant multiplication table). He initialized his breakthrough in the same year with the Frankfurt Book Fair, where he got to know the publisher, Gertraud Middelhauve. And already in 1976 appeared his first and second book. From now he experienced his stellar ascent to a highly successful artist. Soon afterwards, in 1977, he pulled up stakes in South-Africa and returned to Germany. Here he started himself an intensive and highly successful period of works, by writing and illustrating a number of children's books.

As an author and illustrator, Heine ranks today among the artists most renowned internationally; he has had work translated into 35 languages and received numerous honours worldwide. Among his most popular works ranks the little Dragon, Tabaluga.

Helme Heine also writes for adults, draws cartoons and animations and designs sculptures and furniture.

His summer home is in Bavaria.

In Böblingen from February 2005, a two-month special exhibition with 136 examples of Helme Heine's work ran, featuring watercolor art, drawings in India ink and pencil sketches, right up to sculptures and a designer game of chess.

Awards and prizes[edit]

  • 1983 Oldenburg Child & Youth Book Prize - Illustrations for Gudrun Mäcker Anna and the Tatzelwurm
  • 1991 Grand Prize of the German Child & Youth Literature Academy, e. V.
  • European Children's Book Prize

Children's books[edit]

See also[edit]

Works about Helme Heine[edit]

  • Karola Kimmerle: Die Freunde von Helme Heine. München: Ridinghaus (ca. 2001). ISBN 3-7421-3500-7 (The Friends of Helme Heine)
  • Maren Saam: Literatur-Werkstatt zum Kinderbuch von Helme Heine "Freunde". Mülheim an der Ruhr: Verl. an der Ruhr 2004. ISBN 3-86072-907-1 (Literature - Children's Books of Helme Heine)

External links[edit]