22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Stefanie Höfler

Portrait Stefanie Höfler
© Ali Ghandtschi

Stefanie Höfler, born in 1978 near Stuttgart studied German, English and Scandinavian philology at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg and the University of Dundee in Scotland. She later worked as a teacher and drama instructor.
In 2015, she made her writing début with »Mein Sommer mit Mucks« (tr: My Summer with Mucks), which won the young writers’ award from the German Academy for Children’s Literature and was nominated for the 2016 Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in the children’s book category. It’s the story of an unusual friendship for readers ages eleven and up. At the swimming pool one summer, introvert Zonja gets to know Mucks, who is actually named Fabian and is new in town. Zonja even saves him when it appears that he doesn’t know how to swim, but he cuts her off whenever she asks questions. In many ways, Zonja fumbles around in the dark when it comes to her first love, and it’s only at the end of the summer that she finds out why Mucks loves to dance in the rain, is covered in bruises, and carries pepper spray among his swimming things – Mucks, along with his mother and grandmother, is constantly on the run from his father. But now, when he is caught once again, he bravely faces his father with a glass shard in his hand. With sophisticated language and fascinatingly detailed characters, Höfler addresses the topic of domestic violence using original and memorable images. Her novel »Der Tanz der Tiefseequalle« (2017; tr: The Dance of the Deep Sea Jellyfish), again nominated for the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, also presents two strong characters and their problems with growing up. Sera, the prettiest girl in school, falls in love with overweight Niko. Confronted by ridicule from her peers, she must find her own answers to questions of love and betrayal and of appearances and authenticity. The jury for the LUCHS prize, which was awarded to Höfler for the month of March 2017 as well as for the year 2017, praised the book as a »novel about pretty much everything that can occupy someone as they grow up: touching, thoughtful, and funny. A strong new voice and a great asset to the German children’s and young adult book scene.« In her most recent book »Der große schwarze Vogel« (2018; tr: The Big Black Bird), for children ages 12 and up, Höfler tackles the topic of death with the story of how a boy, together with his little brother and his father, copes with the time following his mother’s unexpected death. Constantly confronted with memories of his mother, he simultaneously has to get used to a completely new life. Suddenly, confusing and wonderful things begin to happen that give him closeness, comfort, and assurance in the midst of trying to comprehend this experience with death.