Martin Baltscheit was born in Düsseldorf in 1965. He studied communications design at the Folkwang School of Design in Essen and today works as an author and illustrator of many award-winning books, in addition to writing plays for the radio and stage and narrating audio books.
His first book, »Valerius – Vom Index bedroht« (tr: Valerius – Threatened by the Index) came out in 1991, followed to date by more than forty books that demonstrate the breadth of Baltscheit’s range of topics and form. In his picture book »Die Geschichte vom Löwen, der nicht schreiben konnte« (2002; tr: The Story of the Lion Who Couldn’t Write), he tells the tale of a lion in love looking for the right words to write a love letter to his adored lioness. The text and images complement one another harmoniously and convey issues such as individuality, otherness and the important of learning. In his novel for young adults »Ich und die Kanzlerin« (2009; tr: The Chancellor and I), Baltscheit narrates the fictitious tale of 14-year-old Jasmin Behringer and her time as an intern in the Chancellery. In an invigorating tone, he draws an insightful picture of the political views of today’s youth. In »Die Geschichte vom Fuchs, der den Verstand verlor« (2010; Eng. »The Story of the Fox Who Lost His Mind«, 2010), Baltscheit narrates the tale of an old fox who starts to forget trivial things, then important things and soon can no longer find his way in the world. The author and illustrator interweaves the story’s image and text in a strikingly coherent manner that is rarely found in today’s storybooks. In this work, Baltscheit proves himself to be one of the leading contemporary masters of the »illustrated book« narrative form. Above and beyond this, »The Story of the Fox Who Lost His Mind« stands out as a sensitive, melancholy yet sophisticated tale about ageing, dementia and different generations living together. In his novel »Die besseren Wälder« (2013; tr: The Better Woods), based on his play of the same name (2010), Baltscheit narrates the story of a feral child raised by two childless sheep who comes to realise that his nature, not just his upbringing, has a hand in shaping his character. As an example of the »illustrated novel«, Baltscheit’s tale would be exceptional for its form alone, yet its content makes it nothing less than a »fable 2.0«. Rapidly paced and packed with humour, Baltscheit’s story deals with young people forging their identities and coming up against society’s limits.
As in his books, Baltscheit challenges the canonical boundaries of genre, medium and category in his other artistic works, demonstrating an extraordinary breadth of content and style. Among other awards, he won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (German Children’s Literature Award) in 2011 and the Deutscher Jugendtheaterpreis (German Children’s Theatre Prize) in 2013, as well as being named Narrator of the Year in 2014. Baltscheit lives with his family in Düsseldorf.