23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Michel Faber

Michel Faber was born in The Hague in 1960. When he was seven years old, he moved with his parents to Australia, where he grew up on the outskirts of Melbourne. After high school he studied Dutch, philosophy, rhetoric, and English at the University of Melbourne until 1980. He then did various odd jobs before training to be a nurse. In 1993 he emigrated to Scotland and settled near the city of Inverness. The death of Faber’s second wife in 2014 was the impulse for his poetry collection »Undying« (2016). Faber had previously taken part in several short story competitions in the 1990s. The Edinburgh-based publisher Canongate Books took interest in him and has published Faber’s works in the United Kingdom ever since.

In 1998 Faber made his début with the short story collection »Some Rain Must Fall«. His first novel »Under the Skin« (2000) combines elements of science fiction with those of the horror and thriller genres and is set in the Scottish Highlands, where an alien in human form is searching for male henchmen to drug and send to her home planet. The book has been translated into more than ten languages and helped Faber make his international breakthrough. This was followed by the novel »The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps« (2001), which tells the story of a young archaeologist who has been plagued by nightmares since the death of her boyfriend and who joins an excavation in Whitby to distract herself. There she meets a man who is currently restoring an 18th-century manuscript, the content of which is mysteriously linked to her nightmares. Faber’s novel »The Courage Consort« (2002) is dedicated to vanities in the cultural industry. After twenty years of preparatory work, the sweeping novel »The Crimson Petal and the White« (2003) was published in 2002. It takes place in London in the 1870s and deals with the rise and fall of a 19-year-old prostitute named Sugar. Faber describes life in Victorian London in a detailed, sensual, and socially critical way. In his most recent novel »The Book of Strange New Things« (2014), a young pastor takes on a special task: he is to go to a distant planet as a missionary. While he is converting aliens, he learns about apocalyptic phenomena such as natural disasters and civil war on Earth from his wife’s weekly e-mails.

Faber has received numerous awards for his work, including the Neil Gunn Prize, the Macallan Prize, and the Saltire First Book of the Year Award. His works »Under the Skin« and »The Crimson Petal and the White« have been adapted to film.