Martina Wildner was born in 1968 in Obergünzburg in Allgäu, Germany. She studied Islamic Sciences and Graphic Design in Nuremberg where she received her degree in 1996, with illustration as her study focus. Inspired by the unusual narrative structure and the polished dialogues of Quentin Tarantino’s »Pulp Fiction« (1994), Wildner began writing. In 1996 she met Hans-Joachim Gelberg, founder of the children’s book programme Beltz & Gelberg and, with his encouragement, concentrated more intensely on writing.
A result of this encounter is Wildner’s debut novel »Liebe Isolde!« (2003) – the story of 13-year old Nora and her first great love, told with much empathy. At the centre of Wildner’s second novel »Jede Menge Sternschnuppen« (2003 tr. A lot of Shooting Stars) is 13-year old Victor who, during his summer holidays, falls hopelessly in love for the first time. Here, too, Wildner proves her gift for recounting everyday stories from the lives of her adolescent characters in a knowledgeable, sensitive and humorous way. In her children’s novel »Cora und Fred. Ein Zwilling kommt selten allein« (2010 tr. Cora and Fred. A twin rarely comes alone), written and illustrated by her, Wildner tells the story of two Berlin twins; she switches the narrative perspective with each chapter from one twin to another, describing the ordinary everyday life of the twins with seismographic accuracy and cryptic humour. This book also shows that Wildner knows very well how her young characters think and feel. Her children’s novel »Das schaurige Haus« (2011; tr. The Spooky House) has a striking literary character. It is an ambiguous, creepy tale that plays out in a village in Allgäu that Henrik and his family have moved to. With great care Wildner composes an unpredictable story in the midst of a setting of ghoulish beauty. At the heart of her latest novel »Königin des Sprungturms« (2013; tr. Queen of the Diving Board) are Nadja and Karla. For more than six years the two friends have been attending the same sports’ school where their life is ruled by discipline and harsh routine. Wildner uses the fragility of their friendship in a milieu of high-performance sport for a complex and exciting coming-of-age story of the girls. To learn what freedom and autonomy are about, their apparently predetermined path through life has to unravel first.
Wildner’s work as a writer embraces ten novels for young readers and has been translated into four languages. Among others she was awarded the Peter Härtling Prize (2003) and has been nominated twice (2012 and 2014) for the German Prize for Young Literature. Since 2003, she lives with her husband and three daughters in Berlin.