23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait John Boyne
© Ali Ghandtschi

John Boyne

John Boyne was born in 1971 in Dublin, where he later studied English literature, as well as creative writing in Norwich. Along with a number of short stories he has published 14 novels to date.

Boyne’s debut as a novelist came in 2000 with »The Thief of Time«, a story about a man named Matthieu Zela who suddenly stops aging. Encompassing a life which stretches from the mid-18th century to the end of the 20th, Boyne weaves historical developments together with the life of his fictional character to create a lively long-range narrative. Boyne’s best-known novel to date is »The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas« (2006), an account of the Holocaust as seen from a child’s point of view. We see the horrors of the Nazis through the eyes of the main character Bruno, an impartial, innocent eight-year-old. Boyne’s novel, equal parts fairy tale and tragedy, is perhaps best understood as a fable which leaves the reader enthralled and unsettled. More than five millions copies of »The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas« have been sold worldwide. It received two Irish Book Awards and was also nominated for the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (German Youth Literature Prize), with a 2008 film adaptation shown in cinemas around the world.

Boyne’s novels are distinguished by a remarkable thematic and stylistic diversity. Boyne writes original stories with masterful dynamic tension and multifaceted characters. His subtle texts captivate the reader with their literary qualities. His books for young readers, including »Noah Barleywater Runs Away« (2010), exhibit a playfulness and sense of the bizarre often lacking in contemporary literature targeted at this age bracket. »The Terrible Things that Happened to Barnaby Brocket« (2012) is Boyne’s most recent novel for young readers. Here again a boy stands at the centre of history. Barnaby is eight years old and has a curious gift for floating. Misunderstood by those around him, he sets off on an adventure, at the end of which comes the realisation that being different is no drawback. John Boyne’s latest novels are the ghost stories »This House Is Haunted« (2012) and »Stay Where You Are And Then Leave«, set in the era of the First World War.

John Boyne’s books have been translated into 46 languages. He lives in Dublin.


The Thief of Time

Weidenfeld & Nicolson

London, 2000

Der Junge im gestreiften Pyjama

S. Fischer

Frankfurt a. M., 2007

Der Junge mit dem Herz aus Holz

[Ill: Oliver Jeffers]

S. Fischer

Frankfurt a. M., 2012

Die unglaublichen Abenteuer des Barnaby Brocket

[Ill: Oliver Jeffers]

S. Fischer

Frankfurt a. M., 2013

Der freundliche Mr. Crippen

Die Geschichte eines Mordes


Zürich/Hamburg, 2013