Judith Hermann

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Judith Hermann
Judith Hermann-004.jpg
Judith Hermann (2007)
Born (1970-05-15) May 15, 1970 (age 45)
West Berlin, Germany
Occupation Writer
Nationality German
Period late 20th-early 21st century
Genre short stories
Notable works Sommerhaus, später (1997)
Notable awards Kleist Prize

Judith Hermann (born May 15, 1970) is a German author.


Hermann was born in West Berlin in the St. Joseph hospital. She grew up in the West Berlin neighborhood of Neukölln and remained there until the mid-nineties, when she moved to the district of Prenzlauer Berg in the former East Berlin.

She holds a Masters degree in German and Philosophy and attended the Berliner Journalistenschule, a highly selective professional academy for journalists. During this training she did an internship with the German language newspaper Aufbau in New York. While she was in America she worked on some of her first literary texts, and realized that short stories were "her" genre. In an interview she explained that her training as a journalist helped her to write concisely, although she knew that journalism was not suitable for her.[1]

After returning to Berlin, she worked briefly as a free-lance journalist before she was awarded the Alfred-Döblin stipend from the Berliner Akademie der Künste (Berlin Academy of Arts) in 1997. Recipients of this stipend are financed for three to twelve months while they live and work in the Alfred-Döblin House in Wewelsfleth.

In 1998 her first volume of short stories, called Sommerhaus, später was published, and well received by critics. From her work came the "sound of a new generation" and a "female wonder" (Spiegel 12/1999). The "female wonder" (Fräuleinwunder) refers to a generation of young female authors who are highly successful authors like Jenny Erpenbeck, Felicitas Hoppe, Zoe Jenny, Juli Zeh or Julia Franck. Although "Fräulein" is an oldfashioned term and not politically correct anymore, the term is now often used in Literary Criticism.[2] Judith Hermann received both the Hugo Ball Prize and the Bremer Literatur-Förderpreis. In 2001 she was awarded with the Kleist Prize.

This was followed up in 2003 by her second collection of stories Nichts als Gespenster, but to some extent she was unable to fulfill the high expectations of German critics. In 2009, her latest collection of short stories was published. Alice are five stories about the death of five men. This made Iris Radisch, a famous German critic for the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit title her article about Hermann's new book "Das große Männersterben" (The death of many men).[3] Despite the melancholic subject, these stories are also about hope and that life has to go on after death. In this respect, Alice is different from her earlier works, which had a much darker tone.



  • Eisblumenfarm (based on "Sommerhaus, später")
Short-film by Dominik Betz (2004); with Philip Hellmann, Sara Hilliger, Gunnar Solka
  • Freundinnen
Short-film by Tobias Stille (2005); with Anneke Kim Sarnau, Regina Stötzel, Murat Yilmaz
  • Nichts als Gespenster
Drama by Martin Gypkens (2006); with August Diehl, Chiara Schoras, Fritzi Haberlandt


  1. ^ Interview on 18/06/09 in Freiburg (Germany) during a lecture of her book Alice.
  2. ^ http://www.uni-goettingen.de/de/document/.../ExposeBlumenkamp.pdf
  3. ^ http://www.zeit.de/2009/19/L-Hermann

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