23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Finn-Ole Heinrich
© Ali Ghandtschi

Finn-Ole Heinrich

Finn-Ole Heinrich was born in 1982 and grew up in Cuxhaven. Before studying film directing in Hanover, he completed his alternative to military service in Hamburg, which had him reading the newspaper to a man every day for nine months.

Heinrich debuted as an author at the age of 23 with the short story collection »die taschen voll wasser« (2005; tr. »pockets full of water«). In nine short stories, he looks at characters in their twenties, taking apart and examining how they relate to the great and often serious themes in life: friendship, love and sexuality, the search for meaning in life, and death. He creates a variety of complex characters, painting a picture of their lives and behaviour with great precision and sensitivity, and describing what he sees in a compact and yet unobtrusive style. Heinrich finds his stories in fragmentary snapshots of everyday situations, but this does nothing to diminish the drama in his stories. Heinrich’s coming-of-age and first novel »Räuberhände« (2007; tr. »Thieving Hands«), in the meantime audit subject for a-levels in Hamburg, tells the story of an adolescent friendship and, like his short stories, also delivers a sensitive psychological portrait that is observed with great attention to detail and written in a confident style. In his second volume of stories, »Gestern war auch schon ein Tag« (2009; tr. »Yesterday Was Also a Day), the author once again takes apart his figures with remarkable precision. Heinrich describes extracts from the lives of his characters most of whom are no longer very young. He presents a picture of his generation and their problems with a calm sense of sadness and great sensitivity, but without entering the realms of sentimentality. »Frerk, du Zwerg!« (2011; En. »Frerk, You Dwarf!«) is Heinrich’s first book for children and tells the story of Frerk who finds an unusual egg, which he hatches by mistake, an occurrence that turns his life upside down from one day to the next. »Frerk, du Zwerg!«, which has been lovingly illustrated by the Icelandic-Norwegian illustrator Rán Flygenring, encourages us to accept differentness and is written with a great deal of wit and an eye for the bizarre. The year 2012 saw »Frerk, du Zwerg!« performed as a musical which premiered at the ilb. In »Die erstaunlichen Abenteuer der Maulina Schmitt – Mein kaputtes Königreich« (2013; tr. »The Amazing Adventure of Maulina Schmitt – My Broken Kingdom«) Heinrich has released the first in a trilogy of children’s novels. The book tells a story about loss and the changes this brings about in the life of the ten-year-old main character. The author has once again written a book with captivating central characters who take hold of the reader’s heart in a writing style that is just as literary as it is crazy. Finn-Ole Heinrich is a godsend for German-language children’s literature.

Heinrich has received many awards, among these the Kranichsteiner Literaturförderpreis (2008) and the Deutschen Jugendliteraturpreis (German Youth Literature Prize 2012). He lives as a freelance author in Hamburg.


die taschen voll wasser


Hamburg, 2005



Hamburg, 2007

Gestern war auch schon ein Tag


Hamburg, 2009

Frerk, du Zwerg!

[Ill: Rán Flygenring]


Berlin, 2011

Die erstaunlichen Abenteuer der Maulina Schmitt

Mein kaputtes Königreich

[Ill: Rán Flygenring]


München, 2013