Patrick Süskind

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Patrick Süskind
Born (1949-03-26) 26 March 1949 (age 72)
Ambach, Bavaria, Germany
OccupationWriter, screenwriter
Literary movementMagic realism
Notable works
Alternative cover of Das Parfum by Süskind

Patrick Süskind (German: [ˈpa.tʁɪk ˈzyːsˌkɪnt] (audio speaker iconlisten); born 26 March 1949) is a German writer and screenwriter, known best for his novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, first published in 1985.

Early life[edit]

Süskind was born in Ambach, Bavaria. His father was writer and journalist Wilhelm Emanuel Süskind, who worked for the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and is famous as the co-author of the well-known publication Aus dem Wörterbuch des Unmenschen (From the Dictionary of an Inhuman),[1] a critical collection of essays concerning the language of the Nazi era. Patrick Süskind went to school in Holzhausen, a small Bavarian village. His mother worked as a sports trainer; his older brother Martin E. Süskind is also a journalist. Süskind has many relatives from the aristocracy in Württemberg, making him one of the descendants of the exegete Johann Albrecht Bengel and of the reformer Johannes Brenz.

After his qualification testing for university and his mandatory community service, he studied medieval and modern history at the University of Munich and in Aix-en-Provence from 1968–1974, but never graduated.[2] Funded by his parents, he relocated to Paris, where he wrote "mainly short, unpublished fiction and longer screenplays which were not made into films".[3]


During 1981, he had his first major success with the play Der Kontrabaß (The Double Bass), which was conceived originally as a radio play. During the theatrical season of 1984–85, the play was performed more than 500 times. The only role is that of a tragi-comical orchestral musician. During the 1980s, Süskind was also successful as a screenwriter for the television productions Monaco Franze (1983) and Kir Royal (1987), among others. For his screenplay of Rossini [de], directed by Helmut Dietl, he won the Screenplay Prize of the German Department for Culture during 1996. He rejected other awards, like the FAZ-Literaturpreis, the Toucan Prize, and the Gutenbergpreis.

His best-known work is the internationally acclaimed bestseller Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (1985). This was made into a movie in 2006 by Tom Tykwer. Perfume was on the bestselling list of the German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel for nine years. He is also the author of a novella, The Pigeon (1988), The Story of Mr. Sommer (1991), Three Stories and a Reflection (1996), and a collection of essays, On Love and Death (2006). French cartoonist Sempe illustrated the images in The Story of Mr. Sommer (1991).

Personal life[edit]

Süskind lives as a recluse in Munich, in Seeheim (on Lake Starnberg), and in France at Montolieu. The public knows little about him; he has withdrawn from literary society and does not grant interviews or allow himself to be photographed.

Selected works[edit]


  1. ^ Aus dem Wörterbuch des Unmenschen by Dolf Sternberger, Gerhard Storz & Wilhelm E. Süskind, Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich, 1962
  2. ^ Focus: Patrick Süskind - So flüchtig wie ein Duft
  3. ^ Francke, Eckhart. "Patrick Süskind". Kritisches Lexikon zur deutschsprachigen Gegenwartsliteratur, 42. NLG, 1-8

Further reading[edit]

  • Delseit, Wolfgang and Drost, Ralf. Patrick Süskind. Das Parfum. Erläuterungen und Dokumente. Stuttgart: Reclam 2000.

External links[edit]