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Herta Müller

Born: 17-Aug-1953
Birthplace: Nitzkydorf, Romania

Gender: Female
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Author

Nationality: Germany
Executive summary: German writer

Herta Müller was raised in a German-speaking section of Romania, and became a member of Aktionsgruppe Banat, an underground writers' group seeking freedom of expression. She worked for several years at a machine factory, but was fired when she refused to become an informant for the secret police. Her first collection of short stories was published in 1982, but only in a heavily censored edition, as government officials saw that her writing cast light on human rights violations by President Nicolae Ceausescu's regime. An uncensored edition of her work was published in Germany to great critical acclaim, and she emigrated in 1986. She now lives in Berlin, where she has written some 20 books. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2009.

Her work is not well known beyond eastern Europe, as only five of her books have been translated into English. In 2001, a New York Times review of Heute wär ich mir lieber nicht begegnet (The Appointment), described it as "more a test of endurance than pleasure". She remains critical of writers from Romania and the former East Germany who cooperated with the secret police, and she has declined membership in the writers group International PEN over this issue. Her husband, Richard Wagner, is also a Romanian exile and author.

Husband: Richard Wagner (author, b. 10-Aug-1952)

    University: Timişoara University, Timişoara, Romania (1976)

    Kleist Prize 1994
    German Academy for Language and Literature 1995
    Aristeion Prize 1995
    Carl Zuckmayer Medal 2002
    Würth Prize for European Literature 2006
    Nobel Prize for Literature 2009
    Naturalized German Citizen
    German Ancestry
    Romanian Ancestry

Author of books:
Niederungen (Nadirs) (1982, short stories)
Drückender Tango (Oppressive Tango) (1984, short stories)
Der Mensch ist ein groβer Fasan auf der Welt (The Passport) (1986, memoir)
Barfüβiger Februar (Barefoot February) (1987, short stories)
Reisende auf einem Bein (Traveling on One Leg) (1989, novel)
Der Teufel sitzt im Spiegel (The Devil is Sitting in the Mirror) (1991, novel)
Der Fuchs war damals schon der Jäger (Always, the Fox Was the Hunter) (1992, novel)
Eine warme Kartoffel ist ein warmes Bett (A Warm Potato Is a Warm Bed) (1992, novel)
Der Wächter nimmt seinen Kamm (The Guard Takes His Comb) (1993, novel)
Herztier (The Land of Green Plums) (1994, novel)
Hunger und Seide (Hunger and Silk) (1995, essays)
In der Falle (In a Trap) (1996, novel)
Heute wär ich mir lieber nicht begegnet (The Appointment) (1997, novel)
Der fremde Blick oder (The Foreign View) (1999, novel)
Im Haarknoten wohnt eine Dame (A Lady Lives in the Hair Knot) (2000, poetry)
Heimat ist das, was gesprochen wird (Home Is What Is Spoken There) (2001, novel)
Children of Ceausescu (2001, essays, with Kent Klich)
Der König verneigt sich und tötet (The King Bows and Kills) (2003, essays)
Die blassen Herren mit den Mokkatassen (The Pale Gentlemen with their Espresso Cups) (2005, novel)
Atemschaukel (Everything I Possess I Carry With Me) (2009, memoir)

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