Tamara Bach

Portrait Tamara Bach
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Tamara Bach was born in Limburg an der Lahn in 1976 and grew up in Hessen and Rhineland-Palatinate. She took part in the Treffen Junger Autoren between 1993 and 1995. After graduating from high school, she studied in Mainz and Berlin to become a German and English teacher.

In 2003, the unpublished manuscript of her first novel »Marsmädchen« (Eng. »Girl from Mars«, 2009) was awarded the Oldenburg Children and Young Adult Prize and went on to receive the German Youth Literature Prize in 2004. The novel follows a young girl on her search for her own identity as she navigates boredom, arguments with her mother, and the introduction of her first love. According to the jury for the youth literature prize, her book presents a »snapshot, that has nevertheless accomplished the great artistic achievement capturing the full range of adolescence«. This was followed by further novels such as »Busfahrt mit Kuhn« (2004; tr: Bus Ride with Kuhn), which was also nominated for the German Youth Literature Prize, »Jetzt ist hier« (2007; tr: Now is Here), awarded the Luchs of the Year, »Was vom Sommer noch übrig ist« (2012; tr: What is left of Summer), winner of the 2013 Catholic Children’s and Young Adult Literature Prize and the German-French Youth Literature Prize, »Marienbilder« (2014), which was on the international selection list White Ravens, »Vierzehn« (2016; tr: Fourteen), and »Mausmeer« (2018; tr: Mouse Sea). They all deal with the multifaceted individual experience that adolescents, mostly girls or young women, face as they grow up. The main focus of the stories is the question of one’s own identity in an increasingly diverse society, the conflict-ridden relationships with family and peers, experiences of new beginnings, failures, and new beginnings in the uncertain but all the more intense time of transition. The format of Bach’s novels are characterized by original, often multi-perspective and highly subjective narratives accompanied by a lively and modern language that incorporates many quotations, references, and other forms of media such as pop music as well as psychologically differentiated character-drawings. In 2019, she published her first children’s book, »Wörter mit L.« (tr. Words with L.), about the value of close friends, first loves, and patchwork families. Most recently, she released the young adult novel »Sankt Irgendwas« (2020; Saint Something«) about a class trip where something goes terribly wrong.

With their complex constellations and their linguistic love of experimentation, Bach’s novels have not only shaped youth literature in Germany; they have also been translated into numerous European languages. In addition to the awards mentioned above, Bach has received several grants, including ones from the Writers’ House Stuttgart (2007), from the Berlin Senate (2010), and the Landeskind scholarship from the Künstlerhaus Edenkoben (2016). She was a finalist for the Berlin Kindertheaterpreis in 2019. The author lives in Berlin.