23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Katharina Döbler
© Hans Scherhaufer

Katharina Döbler

Katharina Döbler was born in Gunzenhausen in central Franconia in 1957. She studied theatre, performed for a time as a cabaret artist and punk singer, and today works as a freelance author, journalist, and literary critic for various media outlets.

In 2010, she published her debut novel, »Die Stille nach dem Gesang« (tr: The Silence After the Song). The story is set in the early eighties and follows the shy student Alexandra Zelinski as she falls in love with the aging rock star Falk Margraf. He comes from Bayreuth’s upper middle class and is the former lead singer of the avant-garde band Eckstein. Alexandra pales beside him, neglecting her own ambitions. When Falk suddenly dies, his family blames Alexandra for his death. Reason enough for a final split – if it weren’t for Wanda, Falk’s, and Alexandra’s daughter, only granddaughter of the Margraf clan … Inspired by classic modernist literature, Katharina Döbler does not tell the story in a linear fashion, but alternates between different timelines. As a result, many connections only become apparent in the course of reading. Deutschlandfunk declared that »the author captures the local and contemporary colour and creates a psychogram of the Republic from the 1980s to the new millennium. So much so that this experienced writer’s debut novel, written with quiet unobtrusiveness and a calm, suggestive narrative flow, is first and foremost a social novel«. »Dein ist das Reich« (2021; tr: Yours is the Kingdom), Döbler’s second novel, also told in a non-linear fashion, is strongly based on the author’s family history: Döbler’s grandparents were missionaries in Kaiser-Wilhelms-Land, part of the island of New Guinea that belonged to the German colonial empire until 1919. The first-person narrator, granddaughter of missionaries, explores the complex family history through photographs, reports, and letters, while also critically examining the effects of colonialism, racial thinking, and Christian proselytizing. »What I wanted to depict was the thinking of the missionaries«, stated Döbler in an interview with Inforadio rbb. »This thinking that says: we are the whites, we are the norm, that is, the masters, we are the most developed, […] and I tried to take that as a basis and on that basis also to tell the characters from the inside.«

The author lives in Berlin.


Die Stille nach dem Gesang


Berlin, 2010


Dein ist das Reich


Berlin, 2021