22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Christoph Peters

Portrait Christoph Peters
© Hartwig Klappert

Christoph Peters was born in 1966 in Kalkar, Germany. He attended the Catholic boarding school Collegium Augustinianum Gaesdonck from 1977 to 1986, and studied painting from 1988 to 1994 at the National Academy of Arts in Karlsruhe as a student of H.E. Kalinowski and G. Neusel, and later as a master’s apprentice of Meuser.

Peters made his literary debut with »Heinrich Grewents Arbeit und Liebe« (1996; tr. Heinrich Grewent’s work and love), a story about the hidden depths of a seemingly well-ordered petty bourgeois life, followed in 1999 by »Stadt Land Fluß« (tr. City country river). Peters focuses on the points of contact and friction between the culture and modes of thought of the West and those of other traditions. His fascination with Japan, for example, is revealed in »Mitsukos Restaurant« (2009): While strolling through the forest two friends discover an exquisite Japanese restaurant in a clubhouse, sample from the menu and become friendly with the woman who runs the establishment, with whom one of them falls in love until an unfortunate incident ultimately brings all delusions to an end. »Herr Yamashiro bevorzugt Kartoffeln« (2014; tr. Mr. Yamashiro prefers potatoes) focuses on a bizarre Japanese-German encounter: A Japanese stove builder arrives in Ostholstein, where a German ceramicist is overseeing the construction of a Japanese anagama kiln in the courtyard of an old parish house. In addition to telling an unusual story, the book also provides insight into Japanese culture and modes of thought. Peters’ novel »Das Tuch aus Nacht« (2003) has been translated into Chinese and English (»The Fabric of Night«, 2008): In Istanbul an art student meets a sculptor who has come to the Bosphorus with his girlfriend to save their relationship. Peters has structured his narrative with virtuosity; two plot lines unfold in opposing chronological order, as a murder, the dissolution of a relationship and the beginning of a new love affair play out in the city where the Orient and Occident converge. As Hubert Winkels wrote in »Die Zeit«: »›Das Tuch aus Nacht‹ is a meticulously woven tale, the like of which is exceedingly rare to see in today’s literary bazaar.« After recent travels to the countries of the Middle East, Peters published »Selfie mit Sheikh« (2017; tr. Selfie with sheikh). The stories are set in Germany and the Islamic world and confront Western readers with ancient fears and naïve preconceptions.

Peters has received numerous prizes, including the 1999 Aspekte-Literaturpreis 1999, the 2004 Düsseldorfer Literaturpreis and the 2016 Friedrich-Hölderlin-Preis. In 2004 he was poetics lecturer at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz and guest lecturer at the University of Paderborn in 2014; he was writer in residence at Hetjens-Museum in 2006 and at Museum Kurhaus Kleve in 2014. He lives in Berlin.