Elisabeth Steinkellner

Portrait Elisabeth Steinkellner
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Elisabeth Steinkellner was born in southern Lower Austria in 1981. After training as a social pedagogue and studying cultural and social anthropology in Vienna, she devoted herself to writing.
Her numerous children’s books, from »An Herrn Günther mit bestem Gruß!« (2010; tr: To Mr. Günther with Best Regards!) to »Pepe und Lolo« (2014; tr: Pepe and Lolo), have all been illustrated by Michael Roher. Elisabeth Steinkellner’s 2015 »Rabensommer« (tr: Raven Summer) was her first novel for young adults. The story follows a group of four friends who have just graduated from high school as they spend one last summer together before they all go their separate ways. This summer is marked by disorientation, and plunges the first-person narrator Juli into a pool of confusing emotions. The »FAZ« pointed out that »In addition to the accuracy of feeling, it is precisely the credibility of her idiosyncratic characters that is Elisabeth Steinkellner’s second great narrative strength.« The poems and short stories in the volume »Die Nacht, der Falter und ich« (2016; tr: The Night, The Butterfly, and Me) were illustrated by Michaela Weiss and tell of characters who, as »me« and »you«, remain undefined in terms of age or gender. The young adult novel »Dieser wilde Ozean, den wir Leben nennen« (2018; tr: This Wild Ocean We Call Life) follows the story of two teenagers, both consumed by the search for those people whose disappearance has left a hole in their lives, as they find each other and become confidants over the course of a few days. This novel was followed by the children’s poetry book »Vom Flaniern und Weltspaziern« (tr: On Strolling and Walking Around the World) in 2019. It features various styles of poetry such as the classic end-rhyme poem, counting rhymes, sound poems, and more. The book, which awakens the joy of lyrical and figurative expression in a particularly impressive way, has won many awards, including the Children’s and Youth Book Prize of Vienna 2020. The young adult novel, with illustrations by Anna Gusella, »Papierklavier« (2020; tr: Paper Piano) is a portrayal of teenage everyday life that explores worries, fears, and hopes. Justifying their reasoning for her nomination for the 2021 German Youth Literature Award, the jury stated: »Seemingly light on her feet, Elisabeth Steinkellner manages to give Maia an authentic voice. A voice with which she rebels against common norms of beauty and behaviour, fighting self-confidently and strongly for her own happiness, sometimes as small as it may be.« Elisabeth Steinkellner’s most recent work, the novel »Esther und Solomon« (2021; tr: Esther and Solomon), is about first love and growing up: Two teenagers from two different life worlds meet on a summer vacation with their parents and siblings and try to find each other despite all the fear of being hurt and separated.
Elisabeth Steinkellner has also received the Hans im Glück Prize, the Mira Lobe Fellowship, and the Outstanding Artist Award in the category for children’s and young adult literature. She lives in Baden bei Wien.