23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Wladimir Kaminer
© Hartwig Klappert

Wladimir Kaminer

Wladimir Kaminer was born in 1967 in Moscow. After studying to be a sound engineer for theatre and radio, he studied dramaturgy at the Moscow Institute of Theatre. In 1990, he moved to East Berlin in what was at that point still the GDR. After being assigned a place in an immigrant hostel in Marzahn, he made Prenzlauer Berg the centre of his life and his writing. He became famous for his work as a columnist with his comical descriptions of scenes from Berlin’s daily life, the vicissitudes of the German reunification process, and reminiscences of the lost Soviet life. He was published in, among others, the »zitty«, the »taz«, the »Frankfurter Rundschau« and the »Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung«. He also did readings on independent stages in Berlin.His first collection of short fiction, »Russendisko« (2000, Engl: »Russian Disco«, 2009) is named after an improvised dance event which he organised together with Yuriy Gurzhy in 2000 in Kaffee Burger, and which by now has achieved legendary status and still regularly takes place. Its celebrated mixture of polka-punk, klezmer-ska and balalaika-rock illustrate Kaminer’s artistic creed of fun-oriented, nostalgic anarchy. »Never invent anything, just trust in life« is the guiding principle of the stories in »Russendisko«, which use precise observation, irony and a benevolent attitude to distill gems of absurdity from daily life. The book swiftly became a best-seller and has by now been translated English, French, various Eastern European languages and Japanese, among others. »Militärmusik« (2001, tr: Military Music) was his first novel, a humorous requiem for the old Soviet Union and the author’s own childhood and youth. »Real existing socialism« is also a thematic treasure trove for his »legends and misunderstandings of the last century« »Es gab keinen Sex im Sozialismus« (2009, tr: There Was No Sex Under Socialism). The author proves that he is by now an insider, not only in general German society, but above all in individual Berlin city districts, in »Mein deutsches Dschungelbuch« (2003, tr: My German Jungle Book) and »Ich bin kein Berliner. Ein Reiseführer für faule Touristen« (2007, tr: I Am Not a Berliner. A Handbook for Lazy Tourists). After »Mein Leben im Schrebergarten« (2007; tr. My Life in the Garden Colony), Kaminer moved »Diesseits von Eden« (2013; tr. This Side of Eden) with his family to a small village outside of Berlin where he, as an urbanite and migrant, is a double outsider confronted with the deceits and advantages of life in the country and he describes his adventures with his usual humour.While his parents have been playing chess almost every day for decades, it is a pastime that holds little interest for Kaminer, as he admitted in his blog in 2013. Faced with the puberty of his two children, who live with him and his wife in Prenzlauer Berg, he may now have made the acquaintance of computer games, because »cool parents live longer«




München, 2000



München, 2001

Ich bin kein Berliner

Ein Reiseführer für faule Touristen


München, 2007

Es gab keinen Sex im Sozialismus

Legenden und Missverständnisse

des vorigen Jahrhunderts


München, 2009

Meine kaukasische Schwiegermutter


München, 2010