Rudolf Herfurtner was born in Bavarian Wasserburg am Inn in 1947. When being asked about his beginnings as a writer, he recalls the less than happy time spent at boarding school, during which he began to keep a journal for recording thoughts and for narrating »what is at first, and then also what could be«. In this way he became a writer, »without realizing it: someone who goes through the world and absorbs something that he can employ, which he can then, at home at his desk, work on«. After studying German Language and Literature, English and Drama Theory in Munich, he started working for television and later began writing for a Munich daily newspaper, before dedicating himself fully to writing.
Herfurtner’s texts are marked by his sympathy for children and young adults, his understanding of their worries and their fears, but also by a familiarity with their language and their imaginations. Employing humour and empathy rather than a raised forefinger, he describes the life style of his young protagonists and gives their childlike perspectives room to unfurl – in intoxicating adventure tales, thrilling detective stories and historical novels for young adults. »Mensch Karnickel« (1990; t: Boy rabbit), for example, tells the shattering story of sixteen-year-old Clemens, who is sent East towards the end of World War II in order to avoid the night bombing raids on Berlin. Once the war is over he braves the postwar confusion and embarks on a search for his mother. Solitude and uncertainty have shaped »Clemens« into »Rabbit«, a shy, fearful youngster in flight. Only after six years does he find his mother, who has meanwhile been living with a new man and another young boy. In »Muschelkind« (2003; t: Shell child), Herfurtner depicts – in elaborately interwoven narrative threads – the legend of the river Bernbach and the people who lived on its shores for over a century. At the turn of the last century, when the thirteen-year-old red-haired Margarethe discovers a mysterious book embossed with a shape of a shell at the home of an old miller, she unwittingly falls under the spell of the river and its history. Effortlessly, Herfurtner succeeds in connecting the suffering of his small everyday heroes with fairytale-like elements and exciting adventures, as in his detective novel »Milo und die Jagd nach dem grünhaarigen Mädchen« (2000; t: Milo and the hunt for the green-haired girl), which tells of the uncanny disappearance of street children and was awarded the »Martin« Children’s and Young Adults’ Detective Novel’s Prize.
Rudolf Herfurtner has published over forty stories, novels, drama pieces, radio plays, scripts and four opera librettos for children and young adults. His literary work has been honoured with numerous awards, among them the first German Children’s Theatre Prize (1996), and the Great Prize of the Volkacher Academy for Children’s and Young Adults’ Literature (2002), for his collected œuvre. Most recently, the two children’s books »Pauline und der gelbe Ritter« (2005; t: Pauline and the Yellow Knight) and »Lucia und das Drachenhalsband: Von Mäusen und Monstern« (2006; t: Lucia and the Dragon’s Necklace: Of Mice and Monsters) have appeared. Rudolf Herfurtner lives with his family in Munich.
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