Marko Martin was born in 1970 in the Saxon town of Burgstädt. He was banned from attending university for political reasons and, in May 1989, he left the GDR as a conscientious objector. He studied German language and literature, politics and history at the Technical University and the Free University in Berlin.
Martin’s essays and prose are marked by their savoir vivre and forge a link between outward observations and inner reflection. Journalistic travels have taken him all over the world and he worked as a correspondent in crisis regions such as Myanmar, in 2007. He documented the repression of countrywide protests and other events in his book »Sonderzone. Nahaufnahmen zwischen Teheran und Saigon« (2008; tr. Special zones. Close-ups between Teheran and Saigon). The novel »Der Prinz von Berlin« (2000; tr. The Prince of Berlin) tells the ironic, fast-paced and sensitive story of the experiences of a Lebanese émigré between coming out, urban reality, newly discovered freedoms and the threat of deportation. The essay collection »Kosmos Tel Aviv« (2012), a homage to his »second home« received good reviews in Israeli daily newspaper »Ha’aretz«. Not unlike his short-story collection »Schlafende Hunde« (2009; tr. Sleeping dogs), his »Nacht von San Salvador« (2013; tr. Night of San Salvador), which was also published by Andere Bibliothek, can be read as a subjective travelogue of exotic expeditions to locations such as Damascus, Manaus, Jerusalem, Bogotá or Danzig. Told in episodes and from a multitude of perspectives, Martin creates a global Decameron with erotic escapades against the background of political events. For his most recent book »Treffpunkt ’89. Von der Gegenwart einer Epochenzäsur« (2014; tr. Meeting point ’89. From the present to an epochal break), Martin revised reports and essays, some of which had already been published, which, in the way they are combined, reveal a coherence that diagnoses the times we live in and illustrate the broad spectrum of interests of this much-travelled author. His portraits of Czesław Miłosz, Reiner Kunze, Melvin Lasky, Arthur Koestler, Manès Sperber, Jürgen Fuchs or Bei Dao present a richly faceted picture of revolt as well as moral and artistic integrity. In this chronicle, which is made up of individual life stories, the year of upheaval in the title seems to be testimony to the open-ended nature of history, which ultimately refutes the forecasts that dominate the discourse from Marx to Fukuyama.
Martin’s texts have been published in several newspapers and magazines, among these »taz«, »Tagesspiegel«, »FAZ«, »Die Welt«, »NZZ«, »Lettre International«, »Tempo«, »Kommune«, »mare« and »Cicero«. He received the Arthur F. Burns Fellowship (1994) as well as scholarships from the organisations like the Else-Heiliger-Künstlerfonds and the German-Dutch Cultural Foundation. As a long-standing member of the PEN Center, he works in the internationally operating »Writers in Prison« committee which fights for the human rights of authors who are political prisoners. Martin lives in Berlin.