Literary critic, author, and editor Ijoma Mangold was born in Heidelberg in 1971. His mother’s family comes from Silesia, his father is from Nigeria. Literature has been a passion of his since his youth and his favourite reading material was Marcel Proust’s »In Search of Lost Time«. He studied literature and philosophy in Munich, Berlin, and Bologna. After working for the »Berliner Zeitung« and the »Süddeutsche Zeitung«, he became deputy head of the arts section of the »Zeit« in 2009 and headed the literature department until he became cultural policy correspondent there. He has been a jury member for the most important prizes for German-language literature and has taught literary criticism at the University of Göttingen and in St. Louis, USA. He has also appeared on German television as a literary critic.
In 2012, together with Herlinde Koelbl and Louis Lewitan, he portrayed »50 personalities at the turning point of their lives« in »Das war meine Rettung« (tr: That Was My Salvation). In 2017, Mangold published his autobiography »Das deutsche Krokodil« (tr: The German Crocodile), in which he reflects above all on his fatherless childhood as a »mulatto« in the Federal Republic of the seventies and on his family roots, as well as on the major theme of »foreignness with total assimilation« (»taz«): »This somewhat exaggerated neat High German that I so quickly bark and speak has, I think, also always been part of a struggle: I don’t look like a German, but let me say just one sentence, and then you will no longer have any doubt about my passport.« Three years later, Mangold published »Der innere Stammtisch« (2020; tr: The Internal Stammtisch), the political anthropology of an intellectual who observes himself and traces, describes, and reflects on the reverberations of current events within himself. The motto of the book is a quote by Hannah Arendt: »Thinking is discussing something with oneself.« The primary aim of the journal, which covers the period from September 2019 to April 2020, was to avoid knee jerk reactions to political developments and social circumstances in order to examine what ideological foundations, with the help of what mechanisms, form opinions. The dominant themes of these reflections include the »Fridays for Future« movement, the Corona pandemic with its resulting reactions, and racism in everyday life. In the process, Mangold expresses his distrust of politicians of all stripes and of the supposedly absolute certainties that may not be questioned, as well as claims of moral superiority.
Mangold was awarded the Berlin Prize for Literary Criticism in 2007. In 2020 he was a fellow of the Villa Aurora. Since July 2020, he has been one of the hosts of the podcast »Die sogenannte Gegenwart« (tr: The So-Called Present« at »Die Zeit«. He lives in Berlin and in the Uckermark region.