23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Martha Brooks
© Hartwig Klappert

Martha Brooks

Martha Brooks was born in 1944 in Ninette, Manitoba and she is considered one of the most important authors of youth literature. When asked about her personal style of narration, she has said, “Each book takes me where I never expected to go. I don’t plot. The energy is all in the internal workings of the character and the external workings of the place.” Her goal is to make stories authentic, and it is exactly this that distinguishes Martha Brooks’ texts: strong, well defined characters who have reached a turning point in their lives. The stories are about love and grief, about goodbyes and new beginnings; and they always involve the courage to accept loss and to open up to new people and opportunities.

Brooks was first successful in 1988 with a collection of short stories, “Paradise Café and Other Stories”, which received numerous awards. In the following years, besides publishing further short stories and novels including “Bone Dance” (1997) and “Being with Henry” (1999) she also wrote dramas, including the prize-winning children’s play “Andrew’s Tree” (1996). Besides translations of her books into Italian, Japanese, French and Danish, two of her works, “Two Moons in August” (1991) and “Travelling into the Light” (1994) have been translated into German and were published in 2000.

Martha Brooks’ most recent work, “True Confessions of a Heartless Girl”, published in 2002, is a novel for young adults and was awarded numerous prizes, including the Governor General’s Award (2002). Refreshingly, lyrically and with illuminating irony she tells the story of Noreen’s arrival in the small village of Pembina Lake; the seventeen year old arrives on a summer night in her boyfriend’s truck, with a handful of stolen dollars, a baby in her womb, and a broken heart. At first she is rightfully regarded with scepticism, for the tenseand insecure Noreen turns the lives of all those she encounters upside down. The author does not smooth the edges of her protagonist. She is the catalyst for the ‘adult’ characters in the book, each of whom carries their own secret. Brooks needs no unusual heroes and no sensational occurrences. She writes about ‘everyday life’ from the various perspectives of her characters and lets them learn from one another. Recently, she published the novel „Mistik Lake“ (2007), in which the young Odella is confronted by the secrets and sorrows of her family after the tragic death of her mother.

Martha Brooks is also a successful jazz singer. In 2001 she released the award winning CD “Change of Heart”. She has an adult daughter and lives with her husband Brian in Winnipeg.

© international literature festival berlin


Paradise Café and other stories
Saskatoon, 1990

I Met a Bully on the Hill
Mit Maureen Hunter
J. Gordon Shillingford
Winnipeg, 1995

Bone dance
Orchard Books
New York, 1997

Der zweite Vollmond im August
München, 2000
Übersetzung: Tilmann Kleinau

Being with Henry
Groundwood Books
Toronto, 2000

Weiter ins Licht
München, 2002
Übersetzung: Wolfram Sadowski

Wahre Geständnisse eines herzlosen Mädchens
München, 2004
Übersetzung: Birgitt Kollmann

Mistik Lake
Groundwood Books
Toronto, 2007

Übersetzer: Tilman Kleinau, Birgitt Kollmann, Wolfram Sadowski