Gerald Jatzek

Gerald Jatzek [Austria]

Gerald Jatzek was born in Vienna in 1956. He studied English, Romance Studies, German Studies, Ethnology, Philosophy and Cultural Management, and graduated with degrees in Pedagogy and Journalism. During his studies, he worked as a postman, busker and night porter. Gerald Jatzek has written for children and adults since the mid-1970s, and has also worked for the »Wiener Zeitung« and as a musician. His work as a writer encompasses non-fiction, songs, radio plays, screenplays, cabaret, children’s theatre and essays.

Jatzek’s début as a writer of poetry for children was the playful »Der Lixelhix – Buchstabenabenteuer in Geschichten, Gedichten und Spielen« (1986; ill: Maria Blazejovsky, t: The Lixelhix – Letter adventures in stories, poems and games). »Mira und der Schnüffelbold« (1988; revised edition 2012; ill: Susanne Riha) is a thoughtful book about the danger of rumours. »Die rote Gitarre« (2010; ill: Moidi Kretschmann, t: The red guitar) is about how little Julia wants to learn to play an instrument. In »Rabauken-Reime« (2011; ill: Andrea Steffen, t: Hooligan rhymes) Gerald Jatzek displays once more his talent for rhyming and his playful mastery of language. With remarkable literary style and wit, he writes texts which never lack for depth, accurately reflecting the lives and experiences of children. His poems are fast-paced and are full of surprises, innovative and cheeky and full of wonderful characters like the Chocolate Lion. Gerald Jatzek’s »Rabauken-Reime« are an impressive reminder of the possibilities inherent in the creative use of language. It also has excellent graphic design and fantastic illustrations.

Gerald Jatzek does not only write for children. Written together with Beppo Beyerl and Mandfred Chobot, the book »Der Hund ist tot – Grätzelgeschichten aus 24 Wiener Bezirken« (2012, t: The dog is dead – Neighbourhood stories from 24 Viennese districts) shows his skills as a chronicler of his home city, Vienna. »Grätzel« is Viennese dialect and means, approximately, »neighbourhood«. The three authors collected and transcribed stories from their districts and produced a charming and diverse portrait of their city.

Gerald Jatzek has won several prizes for his literary work, including the Austrian State Prize for Poetry for Children and the Austrian Children’s and Youth Literature Award. Gerald Jatzek lives in Vienna.

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