23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Esther Kinsky
© Hartwig Klappert

Esther Kinsky

Esther Kinsky was born in 1956 in Engelskirchen, near Bonn. There she studied both Slavic and English Language and Literature, and has worked since 1986 as a translator of literary texts from Polish, Russian and English. Writers Kinsky has translated include Hanna Krall, Zygmunt Haupt, Aleksander Wat, Magdalena Tulli and Olga Tokarczuk. In addition to her translations, Kinsky has also published her own poetry and short prose texts in diverse literary journals in England, where she lived for many years.

The breakthrough for her own work came in 2009 with her first novel »Sommerfrische« (tr: Summer Resort). Since then she has been acknowledged as a literary discovery, in addition to her far-reaching recognition as a literary translator.

Kinsky’s début was written with the support of a grant from the Robert-Bosch-Foundation, which made research travels in the border regions of Hungary, Romania and Serbia possible. »Sommerfrische« tells the story of a woman who »intrudes« as a stranger into the everyday life of a Hungarian village. The events which the woman and individual villagers experience are embedded in detailed and lyrical still lifes and landscape descriptions. »Kinsky […] sings of this terra incognito in a language which is as inventive as it is beguiling« (»Neue Bücher«, NDR). Two further works have been published which also draw on the author’s impressions during her journeys through the south-east European countries: the poetry collection »die ungerührte schrift des jahrs« (tr: The unaffected writing of the year), in which she returns to the world of her first novel, and a novel, »Banatsko«, which will be published in 2011. In 2002 Esther Kinsky received, together with Olga Tokarczuk, the Brücke-Berlin-Prize. In 2009 Kinsky won the Paul-Celan-Prize for her work as a translator, with special attention given her translation of Tokarczuk’s novel »Unrast« (tr: Unrest). The author lives in Berlin and Battonya, one of the Hungarian towns she had visited on the border to Romania.


Matthes & Seitz
Berlin, 2009
die ungerührte schrift des jahrs
Matthes & Seitz
Berlin, 2010
21 Grad Blau
Erzählung. Vorabdruck in:
Schreibheft, Nr. 75, September 2010