23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Philipp Meyer

Philipp Meyer was born in 1974 in Baltimore in the U.S. state of Maryland and grew up there in a working class neighborhood. After high school he worked for several years as a bicycle mechanic and on the night watch of a trauma center before he decided at age twenty to become a writer. After graduating with a degree in English from Cornell University, he first went to Wall Street and became a trader with a major Swiss investment bank. At the same time, Meyer wrote many short stories that were later on published in various English language anthologies and magazines such as »McSweeney’s Quarterly«. After he had turned his back on the financial world, in 2005 he had the opportunity to go as a fellow for three years to the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas and to devote his time to his literary ambitions. There the author wrote the biggest part of his first published novel, »American Rust« (2009), which made him famous with one stroke. In the U.S. the book became a bestseller right away, and in the meantime it has been translated into numerous other languages. »American Rust« paints the dismal portrait of a former industrial town in Pennsylvania, whose once flourishing steel industry collapsed, and the crumble is not just in the facades of the buildings themselves, but in the hopes and dreams of its inhabitants. That is why young Isaac wants out of his town, but the day of his departure is a disaster. He accidentally kills a man, and it is not him but his friend Billy that is arrested for the act. From a total of six different narrative perspectives Meyer casts a profound psychological as well as socially critical view of the dark sides of his homeland. For good reason »American Rust« has been likened to the works of John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, J.D. Salinger and Cormac McCarthy in international reviews.

Meyer’s debut novel won the 2009 »Los Angeles Times« Book Prize and was nominated by various magazines as best book of the year. »The New Yorker« put him on their »20 best writers under 40« list. In addition to various grants, the author received a fellowship from the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 2010. Meyer lives in Austin, Texas.




Stuttgart, 2010

[Ü: Frank Heibert]