Dietmar Dath

Dietmar Dath was born in 1970 in Rheinfelden (Baden). He grew up in Schopfheim, and studied physics and German literature in Freiburg. While still a student, he began to write literary and journalistic pieces on society and pop culture for national and international publications under his own and pseudonymous names, such as David Dalek and Dieter Draht. His translations of English-language cult authors such as Joe R. Lansdale and Buddy Giovinazzo also attracted considerable attention. From 1998 to 2000 Dath was also the editor-in-chief of »Spex« magazine before moving to the »FAZ«, where he edited the cultural pages from 2001 to 2007 and has been a film critic since September 2011.

Dath’s his first novel »Cordula killt dich!« (tr. Cordula will kill you!) was published in 1995, followed by »Die Ehre des Rudels« (1996, tr. The honor of the pack), »Am blinden Ufer« (2000, tr. On the blind shore), »Phonon oder Staat ohne Namen« (2001, tr. Phonon, or a town without a name) and »Schwester Mitternacht« (2002, tr. Sister Midnight), »Feldeváye« (2014) and »Leider bin ich tot« (2016; tr. Unfortunately I’m dead). His novels often have autobiographical elements: just like Dietmar Dath, his protagonists also have alliterative names (such as David Dalek or Martin Mahr), originate from small towns in Baden and work for the media. His themes range from pop culture and quantum physics to Marxism, science fiction and genetic engineering. An example of his evolving style is the 1,000-page opus »Für immer Honig« (2005, tr. Honey for ever), which brings Leninist theories up to date, is about violent right-wing radicals in provincial Baden, zombies and demon hunters, and addresses socio-theoretical, musical and literary aesthetic debates – as well as referencing American TV series. He considers novels an »Allesfresserform (»omnivorous« in form). His works are not about »how things are, but how they should be and how they hopefully won’t end up being, or how they could end up being completely neutral. Which makes them speculative or fantastical.« In »Maschinenwinter« (2008, tr. Winter of the machines), a polemic about capitalism and its alternatives, Dath denounces the inhumanity and obscenity of capitalist economic and financial behavior. »Deutschland macht dicht« (2010, tr. Germany closes down) is a fantastical, comic-like story about the current economic crisis and fight against the wild beast of capitalism. His most recent politico-philosophical novel »Der Schnitt durch die Sonne« (2017; tr. Cross-section of the sun) revisits topical themes: six human beings travel to the sun, encounter an alien civilization, and must complete three important tasks with their new bodies.

Dath was awarded a development grant as part of the Lessing Prize for Criticism in 2008 and by the Akademie der Künste in Berlin in 2009, and the Kurd Laßwitz Preis in 2009 and 2013. He lives in Freiburg.