Otfried Preußler (sometimes spelled as Otfried Preussler; both pronounced [ˈɔt.fʁiːt ˈpʁɔɪ̯s.lɐ] (listen); born Otfried Syrowatka; 20 October 1923 – 18 February 2013) was a German children's books author. More than 50 million copies of his books have been sold worldwide and they have been translated into 55 languages. His best-known works are The Robber Hotzenplotz and The Satanic Mill (Krabat).
Life and work
He was born in Liberec (Reichenberg), Czechoslovakia. His mother Erna Syrowatka, née Tscherwenka, and his father Josef Syrowatka were both teachers. They changed their family name from the Czech Syrowatka to the German Preußler in 1941 during the Nazi occupation of the country. After he graduated school in 1942, in the midst of World War II, he was drafted into the German Army. Although he survived the military action on the Eastern Front, he was taken prisoner as a 21-year-old lieutenant in 1944. He spent the next five years in various POW camps in the Tatar Republic.
Between 1953 and 1970, he was initially a primary school teacher, then a school principal in Rosenheim. There his talents as a storyteller and illustrator were put to good use, and often the stories he told the children would later be written down and published.
He won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 1972 for Krabat.
Over 15.2 million copies of his books have been sold in the German language, and his works have been translated into over 55 other languages.
Having essentially retired from writing stories, which had become his main occupation, he undertook the relation of his experiences as a prisoner in the POW camps; those memoirs are to be published after his death.
A Gymnasium (grammar school) is named after him (the "Otfried Preußler Gymnasium Pullach", in Pullach, Bavaria, Germany). There is also a Grundschule (primary school) in Bad Soden which bears his name.
Known works translated into English
- The Robber Hotzenplotz, ISBN 0-200-71272-1
- The Satanic Mill/The Curse of the Darkling Mill (originally: Krabat), ISBN 0-8446-6196-1
- The Little Witch, ISBN 0-340-16704-1
- The Little Water Sprite, ISBN 0-340-28643-1
- The Little Ghost, ISBN 0-340-16703-3
- The Wise Men of Schilda
- Herbie's Magical Hat
- The Adventures of Strong Vanya, ISBN 0-200-71647-6
- Further Adventures of the Robber Hotzenplotz
- Thomas Scarecrow
- Final Adventures of the Robber Hotzenplotz
- The Green Bronze Bell
- Silly Augustine
- The Tale of the Unicorn, ISBN 0-803-70583-2
- Der Räuber Hotzenplotz (1974)
- Krabat – The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1978)
- Neues vom Räuber Hotzenplotz (1979)
- Malá čarodějnice (1984)
- Das kleine Gespenst (1992)
- Der Räuber Hotzenplotz (2006)
- Krabat (2008)
- Das Kleine Gespenst (2013)
- The Little Witch (2018)
- Focus Online: Kinderbuchautor Otfried Preußler ist tot (in German)
- http://www.focus.de/kultur/kino_tv/tid-12513/kultur-ein-bisschen-magier-bin-ich-auch_aid_336449.html Interview with Preußler (in German)
- "Otfried Preußler's 94th Birthday". Google. 20 October 2017.
- Author's Official Website
- Melinda C. Shepherd: Otfried Preussler at Britannica Online
- www.worldcat.org: List of Preußler's books that have been translated into English