Bernhard Lassahn

Bernhard Lassahn was born in Coswig, East Germany, in 1951.  His family moved to the West early in his life.  They initially lived at the refugee camp in Espelkamp, then went on to Nemden near Melle, before settling in the schoolhouse of what is now Bissendorf, where his mother found a teaching position. Lassahn studied German in Marburg and Tübingen.  Since 1979 he has dedicated himself entirely to his writing. He has published novels, short stories, poems, non-fiction and radio-plays.

Lassahn gained a reputation as a children’s author through his ‘Käpt’n Blaubär’ stories. Together with Walter Moers and Rolf Silber he wrote 104 episodes, which were broadcast during the ‘Sendung mit der Maus’ and nine ‘Käpt’n Blaubär’ books. In his essays ‘Lügen in Zeiten des Farbfernsehens’, Lassahn says he prefers writing books to screenplays, but dodges the question of whether television or books are more suitable to animate a child’s imagination, or whether they both ultimately radiate the same magic.  “The agony and the joy of every child, gifted or not, lies in the fact that play can still be serious.” In any case, children appear to be just as sceptical of adults’ praise of the printed word as parents are of childlike enthusiasm for moving pictures.  “Do you know what, Dad?” the author’s daughter remarked, “Books don’t always tell the truth either.”

The fact that Lassahn is now writing more for children again is related to his rediscovery of his own childhood. He has been working on some manuscripts for almost 30 years.  In 1980 his achievements were honoured with the Salzburger Stier. In 1985 Lassahn received a grant from the Hamburg cultural authorities and was Otterndorf writer in residence in 1990. His book ‘Der Schatz der Bananenbieger’ won an award from the Bremen Leseclub in 1999.  The author lives in Hamburg.

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