23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Steven Uhly
© Hartwig Klappert

Steven Uhly

Steven Uhly was born in Cologne in 1964. He began training as an interpreter and translator in Valencia in 1983, followed by studies in German studies as well as Spanish and Portuguese language and literature in Cologne, Bonn, and Lisbon. His dissertation focused on »multipersonality as poetics«. Uhly headed the German Institute at the Federal University of Pará in Brazil for two years, after which he was a visiting professor in Porto Alegre. Lastly, he accepted a teaching position at the Institute for Romance Philology at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich.

Uhly’s debut novel »Mein Leben in Aspik« (2010; tr: My Life in Aspic) is a family novel that demonstrates how the past extends into the present. The »slapstick comedy« which has been described as an »absurd story of incest from the dark heart of the Federal Republic« (Florian Illies in »DIE ZEIT«) that shines with dynamic dialogue and unexpected shifts. Uhly’s double agent novel »Adams Fuge« (2011; tr: Adam’s Gap) was awarded the Toucan Prize and became extremely relevant due to the exposure of terrorist NSU activities and the questionable role played by the representatives charged with protecting the constitution. His 2012 novel, »Glückskind« (tr: Lucky Child), about a washed-up man who finds a baby in a garbage can became a bestseller. Caring for the little girl gives his life new meaning, but also stirs up memories of his own children and his previous life, ultimately raising a variety of questions about responsibility, happiness, and living together. The story was adapted to film by Michael Verhoeven for ARD and was performed on stage at the Volkstheater Rostock in 2014. In 2016, Uhly continued the story by writing »Marie«, a book about life of the mother of the »Glückskind« and his two siblings and addresses the difficulties and impossible demands put on single parents. The English-language translation of Uhly’s fourth novel, »Königreich der Dämmerung« (2017; Eng. »Kingdom of Twilight«), was selected as »Book of the Month« by »The Times«. The story traces a family’s history spanning three generations of refugee movements at the end of World War II. »Tagebuch« (2015; tr: Diary) is a compilation of thirty years worth of Uhly’s poems. After the publication of »Den blinden Göttern« (2018; tr: For the Blind Gods), Uhly released the book »Finsternis« (2020; tr: Darkness). The story is about a young criminal detective undergoing psychotherapy after a sex crime with sadomasochistic undertones has thrown him off the rails. Step by step the author reveals connections that are deeply rooted in a society characterized by captivity and dependency.

Steven Uhly translates from Spanish, Portuguese, and English. Together with Ricarda Solms, he founded the Munich Spring Publishing House in 2007.


Mein Leben in Aspik


Zürich, 2010

Adams Fuge


Zürich, 2011



Zürich, 2012

Königreich der Dämmerung


Zürich, 2014



Zürich, 2015



Zürich, 2016

Den blinden Göttern


Zürich, 2018



Zürich, 2020