Jo Lendle

Portrait Jo Lendle
© Hartwig Klappert

Jo Lendle was born in 1968 in Osnabrück and grew up in Göttingen. After studying cultural studies in Hildesheim and Montreal, he gained another degree from the German Institute of Literature in Leipzig. Before transferring as an editor for the DuMont publishing house to Cologne in 1997, he was editor and managing director of the literary magazine »Edit«. Lendle became editorial director for German literature at DuMont in 2006 and, in 2010, publisher. At the beginning of 2014, he will take over this function as successor to Michael Krüger at the Carl Hanser publishing house in Munich. Parallel to his publishing work, Jo Lendle has also worked as a lecturer at various universities and is a successful writer.

His debut »Unter Mardern« (1999; tr. Among Martens) is a collection of fifty prose miniatures that are characterised by precise, profound memories of »the years of the gym bag«, as he calls them. An entertaining, very lively mosaic with a good dose of absurd humour. While critics already received this volume with enthusiasm, Jo Lendle caused a furore with his first novel »Die Kosmonautin« (2008; En. »The Female Cosmonaut«). The protagonist Hella Bruns takes part in a space flight in place of her 13-year-old son who had won the flight in a competition but died before he could enjoy the prize. The trip right across Eastern Europe to the launch pad becomes a thoughtful parable about the possibility of escaping the pain of everyday life. The author’s language shines with »Kafkaesque precision« (»Die Zeit«), and its narrative style »is entertaining, alludes to the interrelations between things and demonstrates […] an impressionistic talent for description as well as a subtle sensitivity« (»Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung«). His second novel, »Mein letzter Versuch die Welt zu retten« (2009; En. »My Last Attempt to Save the World«) lives up to his debut with its light-footed and yet tragic story about the anti-nuclear protests of the mid-eighties. In his most recent novel »Alles Land« (2011; »The All Land«) he portrays the life of the discoverer of continental drift, Alfred Wegener, in literary form coming close to other poetic biographers like Sten Nadolny. »Lendle’s novels are enjoyable, clever books with a talent for capturing the intellectual moods and energies of their times« commented »Die Zeit« in an article about the writer and his work. His next novel is scheduled for release in the autumn of 2013 and will be titled »Was wir Liebe nennen« (»What we Call Love«).

The publisher and author Jo Lendle has received many prizes and scholarships, among these the Leipzig Advancement Award for Literature; he has also received scholarships from the German Literary Fund, the Robert Bosch Foundation and the Art Foundation of North-Rhine Westphalia. Has recently moved to Munich.