23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Jon Walter
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Jon Walter

Jon Walter, was born in suburban south-west London. He majored in English and theater, and subsequently sold T-shirts on Brighton Pier.

After making a name for himself as a photojournalist, he published his first young adult novel, »Close to the Wind« (2014), which is set in a country torn apart by civil war. The city’s port is engulfed by flames; there is only one ship willing to carry refugees, but for most of them the price for the crossing is far too high. Malik tries desperately to think of a way he and his grandfather can get on board the ship, and worries that his mother won’t make it there in time. Despite the huge challenge he faces, Malik doesn’t lose heart; after all he is inventive and has the help of a stray cat and knows one of his grandfather’s magic tricks. Walter’s debut about war, escape and salvation is highly topical. Despite descriptions of violence and brutality, Walter tells the story perceptively, enabling young readers to empathize with this young protagonist on the run, who comes of age as an »unaccompanied refugee minor« on the lower deck of a ship. The protagonist’s arrival, the loneliness and challenges he faces as he tries to integrate into a foreign society, are told in the third and final part of the book. As the »FAZ« wrote, the author allows readers »at least for the duration of the story, to take the perspective of refugees who come [here] because they have no other choice and who dream of a country that is big enough to accommodate them«. In Great Britain »Close to the Wind« was voted Children’s Book of the Week by the »Sunday Times«. His second young adult novel, »My Name’s not Friday« (2015), also focuses on the difficult fate of an adolescent boy. Samuel, a freeborn black orphan, is renamed Friday and sold as a slave to a white boy of the same age, who takes him to his plantation in Mississippi. The violence and bondage he experiences make him more distrustful of other people. However, the Civil War draws closer, the South is defeated, and the hope for freedom grows. Although this historical young adult novel is about slavery during the American Civil War, it is also very timely with regard to the violence experienced by African-Americans at the hands of police officers in the US today.

Walter lives with his wife and two sons in East Sussex, England.


Jenseits des Meeres


Hamburg, 2015

[Ü: Martina Tichy]

Mein Name ist nicht Freitag


Hamburg, 2017

[Ü: Josefine Haubold]