Mirko Bonné

Portrait Mirko Bonné
© Hartwig Klappert

Mirko Bonné was born in 1965 in Tegernsee, Germany. He completed his Abitur and his alternative to military service not far from Hamburg. Following that, he worked as a bookselling assistant, a geriatric nursing assistant, a taxi driver, and a journalist.

Since the early 1990s, Mirko Bonné has published volumes of poetry and worked as a translator. His debut novel »Der junge Fordt« (tr. The young Fordt) was released in 1999. In »Der eiskalte Himmel« (2006; tr. The ice-cold sky), Bonné retells the story of Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition and revives the almost extinct genre of the adventure novel. His often enthusiastically reviewed novel »Wie wir verschwinden« (2009; tr. How we disappear) takes place in the village in which Albert Camus died in a car accident in 1960. In his essayistic volume »Ausflug mit dem Zerberus« (2010; tr. A day trip with Cerberus), he brings together essays and travel reports with diary entries that illustrate in a multifaceted manner the osmotic relationship between literature and real life. Bonné’s most recent volume of poems »Traklpark« (2012) is named after a small park in Innsbruck that bears the name of one of the author’s poetic role models. That site of cleanly arranged nature becomes a space that echoes an existential query about the self, not least about the questionable meaningfulness of his own literary work. The collected verses from the past 25 years reflect classically poetic topoi of transience in contemporary garb. Bonné’s often minimalistic lines are marked by a compactness created by artificial compound words. In his last novel, »Nie mehr Nacht« (2013; tr. Never again night), which was nominated for the German Book Award, Bonné sends his narrator to Normandy with the assignment of plumbing in drawings the bridges in that war-marked region. The artistic adaptation of the scarred region not only brings him face to face with the historical trauma of the terrible losses suffered by the Allied landing, but also allows him to peer into the abysses in his family, from which he has flown. In 2015, the volume »Feuerland« (tr. Tierra del Fuego) will be published. On his homepage, Bonné also maintains a digital notebook in which he publishes poems, quotes, aphorisms, everyday observations, and artistic inspirations.

In addition to his own literary works, he has translated Sherwood Anderson’s »Winesburg, Ohio«, as well as poetry by William Butler Yeats, Emily Dickinson, Emma Lew, John Keats’ works and letters and Robert Louis Stevenson’s »Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde« and others into German. For his work, Bonné has been awarded the Ernst Willner Prize (2002), the French Prix Relay (2008), the Marie Luise Kaschnitz Prize (2010) and, jointly with Daniela Danz, the Rainer Malkowski Prize of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts (2014). He lives in Hamburg.