23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Ingo Schulze

Portrait Ingo Schulze
© Ali Ghandtschi

Ingo Schulze, born in Dresden in 1962, studied classics and German language and literature in Jena before working as the dramatic arts advisor to the State Theatre in Altenburg. In 1990, he set up the »Altenburger Wochenblatt« and the »Anzeiger« in the east Thuringian city of Altenburg. In 1993, during a six-month residency in St. Petersburg – the setting of his first novel, »33 Augenblicke des Glücks« (1995; Eng. »33 Moments of Happiness«, 1998) – he founded the city’s first free advertising journal. His collection of short stories offers a kaleidoscopic panorama of the Russian metropolis set against the backdrop of the political changes of 1989.

Schulze reached an international audience through his »Simple Storys. Ein Roman aus der ostdeutschen Provinz« (1998; Eng. »Simple Stories: A Novel from the East German Provinces«, 1999). Without any »post fall-of-the-Wall whining«, as the »Stuttgarter Zeitung« enthused, the cracks that resulted from German reunification are portrayed in the biographies of many East Germans. In the fictional epistolary novel »Neue Leben« (2007; Eng. »New Lives: The Youth of Enrico Türmer in Letters and Prose«), set in the year 1990, the protagonist reports on his childhood in the GDR and his path from distraught writer to happy and reckless businessman. With »Handy – Dreizehn Geschichten in alter Manier« (2007; tr: Mobile phone: Thirteen stories in the old style), Schulze returned to writing short stories. At its center lie the shifts and cracks that arise in friendships and romantic relationships in Berlin, New York, Cairo and elsewhere. In his novel »Adam und Evelyn« (2008) the protagonists, whose names recall the myth of Adam and Eve, embark on a voyage to Lake Balaton just as the border to Hungary is opened in the summer of 1989. After the narrative volume »Orangen und Engel« (tr: Oranges and Angels), which was created in 2010 after a residence at Villa Massimo in Rome, Schulze investigated the causes of loss of democracy and social polarization in his essay »Unsere schönen neuen Kleider« (tr: Our Beautiful New Clothes«. The smear-novel »Peter Holtz. Sein glückliches Leben erzählt von ihm selbst« (2017; tr: Peter Holtz: His Happy Life as Told by Himself), and its critique of capitalism, reads as a parable of East German history from 1974 to 1998. Schulze’s most recent novel »Die Rechtschaffenen Mörder« (2020; tr: The Righteous Murderer), which was nominated for the Leipzig Book Prize, is about an antiquarian from Dresden who loses everything after reunification and becomes a reactionary. Schulze’s sophisticated narrative refuses to draw any clear conclusions: »From the beginning, an enlightening milieu study becomes a book that is less about telling a story than about correcting the stories set by the readers« (»DIE ZEIT«).

Schulze has received the aspekte Prize (1995), the Berlin Literature Prize (1998), the Leipzig Book Fair Prize (2007), the Premio Grinzane Cavour (2008), the Bertolt Brecht Prize of the City of Augsburg (2013), and the Werner Bergengruen Price (2019). His work has been translated into thirty languages. He has lived in Berlin since 1993.