Daniel Kehlmann

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Daniel Kehlmann
Kehlmann in 2017
Kehlmann in 2017
Born (1975-01-13) 13 January 1975 (age 48)
Munich, Germany
NationalityGerman, Austrian
Notable works

Daniel Kehlmann (German: [ˈdaːni̯eːl ˈkeːlman, -ni̯ɛl -] (listen); born 13 January 1975) is a German-language novelist and playwright of both Austrian and German nationality.[1]

His novel Die Vermessung der Welt (translated into English by Carol Brown Janeway as Measuring the World, 2006) is the best selling book in the German language since Patrick Süskind's Perfume was released in 1985. In an ironic way, it deals with Alexander von Humboldt, one of the world's best-known naturalists of the 18th and 19th centuries, and Humboldt's relationship with the mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss.[2] According to The New York Times, it was the world's second-best selling novel in 2006.[3]

All his subsequent novels reached the number one spot on Germany's Spiegel bestseller list and were translated into English. He collaborated with Jonathan Franzen and Paul Reitter on Franzen's 2013 book The Kraus Project. Kehlmann's play The Mentor, translated by Christopher Hampton, opened at Theatre Royal, Bath, in April 2017 starring F. Murray Abraham and transferred to the London West End in July 2017.[4] In October 2017, his play Christmas Eve, also translated by Christopher Hampton, premiered at the Theatre Royal.[5] His novella You Should Have Left (2016) was adapted into a movie starring Kevin Bacon and Amanda Seyfried.[6] Kehlmann's highly praised novel Tyll (2017), which sold more than 600.000 copies in German alone[7] and was published in the US in February 2020,[8] is currently being adapted into a TV series for Netflix by the makers of Dark.[9] The novel was shortlisted for the 2020 International Booker Prize. Kehlmann's play Die Reise der Verlorenen was adapted for BBC radio by Tom Stoppard under the title The Voyage of the St. Louis.

Life and career[edit]

Kehlmann was born in Munich, the son of the television director Michael Kehlmann and the actress Dagmar Mettler.[10] His family moved to his father's hometown Vienna at the age of six. His paternal grandparents were born Jewish, and his father was in a concentration camp during WWII.[11] Kehlmann currently lives in New York City and Berlin.[12]

Since 2015, Kehlmann has held the Eberhard Berent Chair at New York University. He is a member of the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung.

2016–2017 he was a fellow at the New York Public Library's Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars.[13]

The novel Tyll was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize.

Kehlmann also works as a screenwriter and wrote the script for the TV film Das letzte Problem. He adapted Thomas Mann's novel Confessions of Felix Krull Confidence Man for an upcoming movie.

Awards and honors[edit]



  • Beerholms Vorstellung (1997).
  • Unter der Sonne (1998).
  • Mahlers Zeit (1999).
  • Der fernste Ort (2001).
  • Ich und Kaminski (2003). Me and Kaminski, translated by Carol Brown Janeway (Pantheon, 2008).
  • Die Vermessung der Welt (2005). Measuring the World, translated by Carol Brown Janeway (Pantheon, 2006).
  • Requiem für einen Hund (2008).
  • Leo Richters Porträt (2009).
  • Ruhm. Ein Roman in neun Geschichten (2009). Fame. A Novel in Nine Stories, translated by Carol Brown Janeway (Pantheon, 2010).
  • Lob: Über Literatur (2010).
  • F. (2013). F. A Novel. Translated by Carol Brown Janeway (Pantheon, 2014).
  • Du hättest gehen sollen (2016). You Should Have Left, translated by Ross Benjamin (Pantheon, 2016).
  • Tyll (2017). Tyll, translated by Ross Benjamin (Pantheon, 2020).


  • Geister in Princeton (2013).
  • Der Mentor (2014). The Mentor, translated by Christopher Hampton (Faber and Faber, 2017).
  • Heilig Abend (2017). Christmas Eve, translated by Christopher Hampton (Faber and Faber, 2017).
  • Die Reise der Verlorenen (2018)



  1. ^ Interview with Kehlmann in the Tagesspiegel.
  2. ^ Daum, Andreas (2019). Alexander von Humboldt. Munich: C. H. Beck. p. 58. ISBN 978-3-406-73436-6.
  3. ^ Hoffman, Jascha. "DATA; COMPARATIVE LITERATURE". query.nytimes.com.
  4. ^ "The Mentor to transfer to the West End – WhatsOnStage". www.whatsonstage.com.
  5. ^ "Niamh Cusack and Patrick Baladi to star in Christmas Eve – WhatsOnStage". www.whatsonstage.com.
  6. ^ McNary, Dave (7 June 2018). "Amanda Seyfried Joins Kevin Bacon Thriller 'You Should Have Left'". Variety.
  7. ^ GmbH, DWDL de. ""Dark"-Macher verfilmen Kehlmann-Roman "Tyll" als Serie". DWDL.de (in German). Retrieved 2019-10-17.
  8. ^ "Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann: 9781524747466 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books". PenguinRandomhouse.com. Retrieved 2019-10-17.
  9. ^ "Today at Frankfurter Buchmesse: Netflix's Kelly Luegenbiehl's CEO Talk". Publishing Perspectives. 2019-10-16. Retrieved 2019-10-17.
  10. ^ "Contemporary Authors Online". Literature Resource Center (Subscription from EBSCO required). 2015. Retrieved 26 Mar 2019.
  11. ^ Herschthal, Eric. "Waiting For The Right Holocaust Angle". jewishweek.timesofisrael.com.
  12. ^ "ZEIT ONLINE | Lesen Sie zeit.de mit Werbung oder im PUR-Abo. Sie haben die Wahl".
  13. ^ "Past Fellows 1999–2018". The New York Public Library.
  14. ^ "Autor Daniel Kehlmann erhält Anton-Wildgans-Preis 2019". Orf.at. 2019-04-16. Retrieved 2019-04-16.

External links[edit]