Marjaleena Lembcke was born in 1945 in Kokkola, Finland, and studied drama in Helsinki before moving to Germany in 1967. She studied for the second time at the Arts Academy in Münster, this time choosing sculpture.
The author has published work in German since 1985: mostly – with few exceptions, such as »Finnische Tangos« (1998, t: Finnish Tangos) – children’s books, fiction for young adults, poems and radio plays, which are often closely connected with Finland. Her literary work is characterised by the sense of calm and urgency fused with the humour and irony of her narrators’ perspectives, with occasional laconic interludes. An example of the rich variety of her characters’ self-assessments and assessments of others is found in the novel »Liebeslinien« (2006, t: Love Lines). Aulikki flees her small, claustrophobic home town to the big city, Helsinki, away from her home and her widower father, who, following the death of his wife from cancer, now lives with her sister.. The young girl is bursting with questions and searching for answers to unresolved conflicts as well as ideas for her own future. The author describes her narrative style as follows: »Sculpture is related to writing. Both produce an image from raw materials. In writing, too, the best image comes when everything unnecessary is removed«. Her first major literary success came with the novel »Mein finnischer Großvater« (1993, t: My Finnish Grandfather), which, with five other stories, forms a sequence of single novels about a Finnish clan and their everyday life. In most of Marjaleena Lembcke’s novels, as in her fairy tale »Ein Märchen ist ein Märchen ist ein Märchen« (2004, t: A Fairytale is a Fairytale is a Fairytale), the central theme is the protagonist’s search for his or her own (life-) story and the potential for self-determination. Her most recent children’s book »Hexenheim Horizont« (2009, t: Witches’ Home Horizon) tells the story of a disturbance in a home for eld erly witches: they find the evening of their lives disrupted as they have to head off in search of two new witches.
Marjaleena Lembcke won the Austrian Children’s and Young Adult’s Book Prize in 2005 for »Ein Märchen ist ein Märchen ist ein Märchen«. She was nominated for the German Youth Literature Prize in 1999 for »Als die Steine noch Vögel waren« (1998, t: When The Stones Were Still Birds), and again in 2007 for »Liebeslinien«. The author now lives with her family in Greven, near Münster in Westphalia.
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