23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Hannes Wirlinger
© Bernhard Ludewig

Hannes Wirlinger

Hannes Wirlinger was born in 1970 in Linz. At the age of sixteen, he already tried his hand at writing his first texts, including poems, short stories, and novels. With the intention of becoming a professional writer, Wirlinger began to study journalism and political science in Vienna after graduating from school and then worked as a journalist for the »Oberösterreichische Rundschau«, the »Niederösterreichische Nachrichten«, the »Niederösterreichischen Wirtschaftspressedienst«, and »Die Presse«. Dissatisfied with this job, Wirlinger began studying at the first film school in Vienna, where he attended the scriptwriting class until 1997. He made a name for himself as a screenwriter with »Sacrilegus«, for which he received praise from the jury of the Carl-Mayer Screenwriting Award in Graz in 2003. Wirlinger’s most famous projects include the crime series »SOKO Kitzbühel«, for which he wrote numerous scripts. In 2012, he ended his work as author of the series in order to devote himself to new fields of activity.

For his work on his debut novel, »Der Vogelschorsch« (2019; tr: The Bird Boy), he received the Mira-Lobe Scholarship of the Austrian Federal Chancellery in 2017, the highest endowed literary grant in Austria. At the heart of the novel is the friendship and intimate bond that develops between two superficially very unequal young people. Fourteen-year-old Lena, a popular girl in the village, meets Georg, three years her senior, a somewhat strange loner who, because of his extraordinary relationship with birds, is called by everyone only as the »Vogelschorsch« (tr: bird boy). The difficult family situation that unites the two brings them closer together. The book has been celebrated by many critics, with particular emphasis on the eloquent, yet sensitive character design. The »FAZ« stated that Wirlinger drew the characters profoundly with all of their contradictions. »Although his book appears gloomy at first, it develops in the end into an encouraging ode to soulmates. It is this strong ambivalence between joy and gloom that makes the novel a unique reading experience.« The distinctive black and white drawings by Ulrike Möltgen precede the individual chapters of the book and carefully illustrate the story. In August 2019, the novel was on Deutschlandfunk’s »7 for Young Readers« list of best books and was awarded the Austrian Children’s and Young Adult Book Award in 2020.

Wirlinger is currently reworking the novel into a screenplay and writing further books for young adults. His first storybook will appear in 2021. The author lives in Vienna and Lower Austria.


Der Vogelschorsch

Ill: Ulrike Möltgen

Jacoby & Stuart

Berlin, 2019