Jutta Treiber

Portrait Jutta Treiber
© Hans Peter

Jutta Treiberwas born in Oberpullendorf, Austria, near the Hungarian border, in 1949. After studying German and English at the University of Vienna she worked at a secondary school in her hometown. In addition she ran the local cinema owned by her family for more than twenty years. At the age of eight she first experienced writing and the therapeutic power of art, after the birth of her disabled brother. At that time she also became familiar with fiction and fantasy by means of the cinema that her grandfather had founded. On the fascination of writing she comments: “On the one hand it means coming to terms with past events and experiences, on the other hand it is an obsession. I have to write, cannot live without writing.”  The author from the Burgenland debuted in 1979 with a volume of short stories entitled ‘Ich will eine Geschichte schreiben’ (Engl: I Want to Write a Story).  Since 1988, when she published her young adults’ novel ‘Popcorn zum Frühstück’ (Engl: Popcorn for Breakfast), she has worked as a freelance writer.  Her oeuvre comprises illustrated books and children’s books, poetry, short prose, novels for young people, cabaret programmes, radio plays and short films.

In an empathic and humorous way Jutta Treiber depicts children and young people who must make important decisions and face big changes.  Avoiding soft-focussing, she chooses as central themes taboos and emotional devastations which are often hushed up and which threaten to break young people.  The writer offers her readers ways of identifying with what is not talked about. At the same time she shows that one is not alone with one’s efforts to regain wholeness and dignity after loss, harm or fear.  Her stories always end with the power of hope and the will to continue living despite everything.

In the book series about “children-in-between” (among others in ‘Dazwischenkinder sind wir alle’, 1999; Engl: We All are Children-in-Between) she describes the often ignored difficulties of the middle siblings.  Her young people’s novel ‘Julia spielt Julia’ (Engl: Julia Plays Julia) describes the dreams, fears and passions of young adults as seen from the perspective of a young lady who wants to become a theatre star.  Equally multi-facetted is Treiber’s psychological portrayal of seventeen year old Franka, who becomes a rape victim and almost breaks down in the aftermath (‘Vergewaltigt’, 2003; Engl: Raped).  The author manages to look sensitively into the complex world of a grieving child’s soul, as well as to humorously describe first love, the everyday war between parents, or a grumpy father convinced by his family to have a laugh pacemaker implanted (‘Lachschrittmacher’, 2001, Engl: Laugh Pacemaker). Recently, she published the picture book „Der Großvater im rostroten Ohrensessel“ (2006) and the children’s book „Max und Marzipan“ (2007).

Jutta Treiber has given more than 2000 readings in seventeen European and Asian countries.  She has received the City of Vienna’s Award for Children’s and Young People’s Literature, the Austrian Young People’s Literature Award (1996 and 2007) and the Libraries’ Readers’ Voices Award.  Jutta Treiber lives in Oberpullendorf – above the cinema.

© international literature festival berlin