22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Norbert Scheuer

Portrait Norbert Scheuer
© Hartwig Klappert

Norbert Scheuer was born in 1951 in Prüm, which is located in the Westeifel area of the region of Rhineland-Palatinate. While attending evening school, he completed an apprenticeship as an electrician. After that, he studied Physical Engineering in Iserlohn. At the University of Dusseldorf, he completed a second course of studies in Philosophy, graduating after submitting a master’s thesis on Kant.

His literary debut, the volume of stories »Der Hahnenkönig« (tr. The Cockrel King), was released in 1993, followed four years later by the collection of poems »Ein Echo von allem« (tr. An Echo of Everything). His first novel, »Der Steinesammler« (1999; tr. The Collector of Stones) is seen as groundbreaking among Scheuer’s literary works, as it is here that he declares a love of his home region, the Eifel, which is also apparent in the works that follow. This decidedly regional localisation does not however mean that he fails to deal with existential and/or universal themes. On the contrary, he creates a fictional portrayal of a microcosm with which he is intimately familiar, both topographically and historically, and with respect to the temperament and idiosyncrasies of his characters. He already shows in his novels how masterfully he is able to create a certain atmosphere concerning the landscape, even when, in this case, to world is reduced to a triangle of village, stone quarry and cement works. In the novel, the stone collector of the title, Anton Braden, passionately hopes to win the love of a woman while he is being worn down by apathy and power struggles. Particularly

striking are Scheuer’s calm, extremely accurate language and his sober-laconic tone, which often sounds at the same time authentic and poetic. In his second novel »Flußabwärts« (2002; tr. Downriver) and the volume of stories »Kall, Eifel« (2005) he portrays his own home village, often populating it with desperate figures, intertwining their stories to create a village panorama. His first novel »Überm Rauschen« (2009; tr. Above the Murmur) was received positively by the critics and was shortlisted, among others, for the German Book Prize. In his most recent work, »Peehs Liebe« (2012; tr. Peeh’s Love), he hauntingly and movingly describes the life story of a man right up to old age.

Scheuer’s poems and short stories were included, among others, in the »Beste deutsche Erzähler« (Best German Authors) anthology published by Hubert Winkel and printed in the renowned literary magazine »Akzente«. The author has received several prizes for his literary oeuvre, among these the Martha-Saalfeld advancement prize (2003), the Literature prize of the Kunststiftung NRW (2004), the 3sat Prize in the Ingeborg Bachmann competition and the Georg-K.-Glaser Prize (both in 2006), and most recently the Rheinischer Literaturpreis Siegburg (2010). In 2011, he was Poet in Residence at the University of Duisburg-Essen. In addition to his work as an author, he also works as a system programmer. Scheuer lives in Keldenich/Kall in the North Eifel region.

© internationales literaturfestival berlin