23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Milena Baisch

Milena Baisch was born in Bochum in 1976 and grew up in Wuppertal. From 1998 to 2000 she attended the Drehbuchakademie (Script Academy) of the Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie (Germany Film and Television Academy) in Berlin. She has been active as an author since the mid-1990s and to date has produced more than 20 books.

In 1997 she made her debut as an author with »Freundschaftsgeschichten« (tr. »Friendship Stories«). Her first and so far only novel for young adults, »Blumen im Bauch« (tr. »Flowers in the Belly«), came in 2007. Through shrewd observation she depicts the experiences of 15-year-old Maja and sensitively handles themes like first love and the problems of growing up. At the heart of »Anton taucht ab« (2001; tr. »Anton dives in«), Baisch’s first novel for children, is the eponymous Anton. He has been hoping that a lakeside vacation with his grandparents will offer the adventure he craves. But disappointment sets in once he arrives at the holiday site. There’s no pool, and Anton is unimpressed with the murky lake – until he gets to know a fish which he names Piranha. At the centre of Baisch’s story are everyday worries and strategies for overcoming them. »Anton taucht ab« is strange, funny and at the same time highly literary. In 2011 the book won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (Germany Children’s Literature Prize) for best children’s book, impressing the jury with its »ironic disruption of the adventure hero story« and its »thrilling narrative exuberance«. Baisch continues the story of her young hero in »Anton macht’s klar« (2012; tr. »Anton makes it clear«). This book is also distinguished by a sensitive narrative voice, combined with offbeat humour. Anton’s yearning for »Roolys«, or sneakers with wheels, gets him involved in yet another adventure. Here the theme of being different is at the heart of the narrative. Anton’s difference comes from his parents, who are not as well off as his schoolmates’ parents. Once again Baisch impresses the reader with narrative flair and comic dialogue. Despite their casual tone, »Anton taucht ab« and »Anton macht’s klar« are books which take children – and the subjects which occupy them – seriously. However it would be wrong to categorise them as »issue« books. They are more aptly described as good literature for children: with great empathy and the gift of close observation Baisch finds coherent literary images for the wishes and worries of her young protagonists. With »Anton taucht ab« and »Anton macht’s klar«, Baisch has brought her own distinct voice to contemporary German children’s literature.

Along with books for young readers Milena Baisch also writes scripts for film, television and radio and plays for children. As well as the Deutscher Literaturpreis she has also received the Deutscher Kinderhörspielpreis (German Children’s Radio Play Prize) for »Anton taucht ab« and in 2013 the Berliner Kindertheaterpreis (Berlin Children’s Theatre Prize) for her play »Die Prinzessin und der Pjär« (»The Princess and the Pjär«). Her literary work has so far been translated into seven languages. Milena Baisch lives in Berlin.



[Ill: Dorothea Tust]


Bindlach, 1997

Blumen im Bauch


Hamburg, 2007

Weltbeste Freunde für immer

[Ill: Andreas Schmachtl]


Würzburg, 2007

Anton taucht ab

[Ill: Elke Kusche]

Beltz & Gelberg

Weinheim, 2010

Anton macht’s klar

[Ill: Elke Kusche]

Beltz & Gelberg,

Weinheim, 2012