Benedict Wells

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Benedict Wells
Benedict Wells, 2018
Benedict Wells, 2018
Benedict von Schirach

NationalityGerman, Swiss

Benedict Wells (born 1984 in Munich) is a German-Swiss novelist.[1]

Life and career[edit]

At the age of six years, Wells went to the first of three Bavarian boarding schools, in which he spent his entire school years. Following his graduation from high school in 2003, he moved to Berlin where he decided not to go to university but to pursue his writing instead. He made a living doing odd jobs. His first novel Becks letzter Sommer received widespread acclaim[2] and was described by Die Zeit as "the most interesting debut of the year."[3] His third novel Fast genial became a bestseller in Germany in 2011.[4]

In 2015 the screen adaptation of Becks letzter Sommer was released in cinemas starring Christian Ulmen.

Wells' fourth novel Vom Ende der Einsamkeit was published in February 2016. It was a bestseller and awarded the European Union Prize for Literature.[5]

His books have been translated into 27 languages.[6]


He was born Benedict von Schirach, as a member of the Sorbian Schirach family, and is a son of the sinologist Richard von Schirach, the brother of the philosopher and writer Ariadne von Schirach, a cousin of the author Ferdinand von Schirach, and a grandson of the Nazi Party National Youth leader Baldur von Schirach.[7] Wells is no pseudonyme or pen name, he officially changed his surname some years before his literary debut. His family background did not become publicly known until after the success of his third novel. Wells has since commented that this happened against his will because he wanted to be independent as an author and to be judged based on his own person.[8] He said that he changed his name to distance himself from what his grandfather had done and this part of his family's history, which he condemns in any possible way, and that he wanted to show that he stands for something else.[9] [10] He further said the name Wells is a tribute to the character Homer Wells in John Irving's novel The Cider House Rules, and that Irving's books inspired him to become a writer.[11]

Wells' mother is Swiss and he holds both German and Swiss citizenship. He also has American and English ancestry and descends from two signatories of the United States Declaration of Independence.

Awards and honors[edit]


  • Becks letzter Sommer. Diogenes, Zürich 2008, ISBN 978-3-257-06676-0.
  • Spinner. Diogenes, Zürich 2009, ISBN 978-3-257-06717-0.
  • Fast genial. Diogenes, Zürich 2011, ISBN 978-3-257-06789-7.
  • Vom Ende der Einsamkeit. Diogenes Verlag, Zürich 2016, ISBN 978-3-257-06958-7.
  • Die Wahrheit über das Lügen: Zehn Geschichten. Diogenes Verlag, Zürich 2018, ISBN 978-3-257-07030-9.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Benedict Wells jetzt auch Schweizer in: Focus vom 7. Juli 2016.
  2. ^ Becks letzter Sommer, Perlentaucher
  3. ^ Das interessanteste Debüt des Jahres: Benedict Wells’ Roman »Becks letzter Sommer«
  4. ^ "Fast genial auf Bestsellerliste". Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2015-04-01.
  5. ^ Benedict Wells unter den Gewinnern in: Börsenblatt des Deutschen Buchhandels vom 5. April 2016. Abgerufen am 7. April 2016.
  6. ^ Sceptre to translate Wells in: The Bookseller from September 28th 2017.
  7. ^ Interview mit Ariadne von Schirach: Spross einer bekannten Familie, Stuttgarter Zeitung, 2 May 2014
  8. ^ Article in Haaretz about Benedict Wells from August 29th 2017
  9. ^ "A personal matter" Text by Benedict Wells on his Homepage
  10. ^ "Benedict Wells on the tear-jerker that took Europe: 'I used anger – and love'" Article in The Guardian from March 20th, 2018
  11. ^ "Ich galt als Versager!" Artikel auf Spiegel online vom 15. März 2013
  12. ^ Kunstförderpreis für Benedict Wells Archived 2016-08-08 at the Wayback Machine in: Buchreport vom 27, Oktober 2009.
  13. ^ "2016 EU Prize for Literature winners announced". Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  14. ^ "Woche unabhängiger Buchhandlungen / Benedict Wells schrieb das Lieblingsbuch /". (in German). Retrieved 2016-12-08.
  15. ^ Euregio-Schüler-Literaturpreis für Wells in vom 20. April 2018.