Wolfgang Hilbig

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Wolfgang Hilbig (31 August 1941, Meuselwitz, Lk.ABG, Th.–2 June 2007, Berlin) was a German author and poet. He was a member of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (GDR, German: DDR).


Wolfgang Hilbig's grandfather emigrated to Thuringia from Biłgoraj before the First World War. In 1942, his father was reported missing at Stalingrad. He left behind Hilbig and his mother.

After his schooling in his home town of Meuselwitz, Hilbig began to work at a boring mill, learning the trade. Later, after military service, he worked as a tool-maker, on the ground, and in assembly construction at the Meuselwitz lignite mine.

In 1978 Hilbig moved to East-Berlin and in 1979 he became an independent writer. In 1985, he left the GDR with a travel visa to go to West Germany.

He lived in Berlin after the fall of the Berlin Wall and was married to Natascha Wodin from 1994 to 2007. They had one daughter. He died from cancer in 2007 and is buried in the 'Dorotheenstädtischen' cemetery in Berlin.


At first Hilbig favoured poetry, but his works remained widely unpublished in the GDR. He received attention from the West however, as a result of his poems in the Anthology 'Cries For Help From The Other Side' (1978). His first volume of poetry, Absence (1979) was published by S. Fischer Verlag in Frankfurt am Main. For this, Hilbig was fined.

At the end of the 1970s, Hilbig gave up his day job and began to work exclusively as a writer. With the support of Franz Fühmann, a few of his poems were printed in a GDR newspaper for the first time. His prose anthology, Unterm Neomond (1982) was published by S. Fischer, followed by Stimme Stimme (1983), a prose and poetry anthology published by Reclam in Leipzig.

In 1985 Hilbig gained a visa for West Germany valid until 1990. During this time he published not only further poetry and prose, but also his first novel, Eine Übertragung (1989), which was received well by literary critics.

Even after reunification, the main themes of his work remained the dual-existence of working and writing in the GDR and the search for individuality. His further works include: his second novel, Ich (1993); his collections of short stories, such as Die Arbeit an den Öfen (1994) and Die Kunde von den Bäumen (1996); and his third novel Das Provisorium (2000). Autobiographical themes are often prevalent.



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  • „Büchner-Preisträger Wolfgang Hilbig gestorben.“ In: Die Welt am 2. Juni 2007, retrieved, 7 February 2011.
  • Chronologische Daten nach Andrea Jäger: Wolfgang Hilbig. In: dies.: Schriftsteller aus der DDR. Ausbürgerungen und Übersiedlungen von 1961 bis 1989. Autorenlexikon. Schriften zur Europa- und Deutschlandforschung. Hrsg. v. Paul Gerhard Klussmann (de). Bd. 1. Frankfurt Main 1995. S. 201
  • Matthias Biskupek (de): Von Lärchenau über Hilbig nach Berlin, Rezensionen u.a. zu Karen Lohse, Eine motivische Biographie. In: Eulenspiegel, 55./63. Jg., Nr. 7/08, ISSN 0423-5975, S. 77.
  • Autorenporträt Wolfgang Hilbig im Literaturkalender von FAZ.NET, retrieved, 7 February 2011.
  • Evelyn Finger (de): LUCHS 185 – Die Jury von ZEIT und Radio Bremen stellt vor: Franz Fühmann und Jacky Gleich (de), „Anna, genannt Humpelhexe“. As of 29 February 2002, retrieved, 7 February 2011.
  • Cornelia Geissler: Der Unbehauste – Wolfgang Hilbig ist mit seinem neuen Roman im Westen angekommen. In: Berliner Zeitung, 19 February 2000, retrieved, 7 February 2011.
  • Sächsische Akademie der Künste: Verstorbene Mitglieder. Retrieved, 6 February 2011.
  • Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste: Nekrolog. Retrieved, 6 February 2011.
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  • Ursula März (de): In der deutschen Vorhölle. Rezension des Romans Das Provisorium in „Die Zeit“ Nr. 9/2000. Retrieved, 6 February 2011.
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