Christian Duda

Christian Duda was born in Graz in 1962 and studied philosophy, literature and art history in Stuttgart. In the 1980s, he began working as an assistant director and director (under the name Christian Ahmet Gad Elkarim) at theaters in Stuttgart, Munich, Berlin and Nurnberg, among others. He also wrote a series of screenplays and stage plays.

Duda published his debut novel »Klar« (tr. Sure) in 2000. In that book, he tells the story of the daughter of a building contractor and starts with her 40th birthday in 1989, the same year the Berlin Wall came down. This also makes the novel’s key protagonist exactly as old as the German Federal Republic, and her life thus reflects the story of an entire generation. In 2007, Duda published his first children’s book for reader’s 4 years and up; »Alle seine Entlein« (tr. All his ducklings) is a picture book about a duckling raised by a fox who intends to eat him at a later date. Over the course of time, the fox develops paternal feelings and can’t bring himself to eat his duckling son. The grown-up duck goes on to fall in love, thus laying the foundation for a new duck dynasty in the forest. The picture book »Schwein sein« (2014; tr. Being a pig) is also set in the animal world and takes a laconic and metaphorical approach to the story of a piglet named Lotte, who is adopted by a human couple as a playmate for their daughter. As pigs and humans have different ideas of cleanliness, Lotte quickly ends up back at the farm, where she has a hard time adjusting. The picture book »Elke« (2015) examines everyday life in the big city, where the title character bakes a cake once a day for a café on Lubitschstraße, a fictitious street in Berlin. Elke is much more than a baker of cakes, however; she also has an open ear for everyone’s problems, children and adults alike. Her »Zupfkuchen« cake even has magical properties. Elke is the only person nobody knows anything about, and her neglect for her own health ultimately does her in. The bedtime story »Bonbon« (2016) explores the inner conflict faced by a young girl who after brushing her teeth – but before going to bed – finds a bonbon and must decide whether she should eat the enticing sweet or obey the rules. Here, Duda imitates child-like expressions and uses grammatical »errors« and ellipses. In his latest publication »Gar nichts von allem« (2017; tr. None of everything), a novel for children 11 years and up, Duda looks back at the 1970s and tells the story of Magdis, the adolescent son of immigrants who is plagued by family conflicts and social hostility and who must forge his own unique path in search of justice, protection and happiness.

Christian Duda was a fellow at the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin in 1999 and has received numerous literary awards in Germany, Austria, Brazil and the Netherlands. He lives in Berlin.