Sibylle Berg is a very versatile and diligent writer and playwright. She was born on June 2, 1962 in the historic city of Weimar and is the author of numerous novels, essays, plays, short prose, radio plays and columns.
Immediately after school, she trained as a puppeteer. Later she moved to Hamburg where she studied oceanography and political science. In addition, she also worked in various other occupations such as cleaning lady, gardener, secretary or representative.
Meanwhile, she started writing and worked as a writer for various magazines.
In 1996 she moved to Switzerland. She lives either in her favorite city of Zurich or at times in her second home Tel Aviv, where she met her husband, whom she married in 2004.
In 2012 she was granted Swiss citizenship.
Sibylle Berg's first novel has the endless title: : „Ein paar Leute suchen das Glück und lachen sich tot“ (A few people seek happiness and laugh at each other). In order to be able to publish it, she had to “clean doorknobs” at about 50 publishers, until finally one believed in the script. In 1997, the Reclam publishing house in Leipzig published the book, which promptly sold a hundred thousand copies. A direct hit for a debut!
There followed numerous other novels, which appeared at various publishers. Some of them were: „Der Mann schläft“ (The husband sleeps), „Vielen Dank für das Leben“ (Thank you for life) and „Der Tag als meine Frau einen Mann fand“ (The day when my wife found a husband).
Most recently, Kiepenheuer & Witsch's largest bestseller success so far was in 2019: "GRM. Brainfuck ", for which she was even awarded the Swiss Book Prize.
But she does not just write novels. You can find your columns in "Spiegel Online" or watch a play by her, for which she even takes over the direction. In addition, she also publishes travel reports, artist portraits and glosses in the Swiss magazine "Die Zeit", the "Neue Züricher Zeitung" or "Die Presse". Also many lyrics of the songs, which sings the Swiss singer Sina, flowed from Sibylles pen.
Since 2013 she also works as a lecturer at the Zurich University of the Arts. She has a teaching assignment in the department of dramaturgy.
The works of Sibylle Berg have now been translated into 34 languages. Her plays in 26 languages.
German author and journalist Daniel Schreiber describes Berg's figures as:
"Filled with unfulfillable longings, living in spooky relationships and endowed with inadequate bodies," which she "chased through the gym of the real existing neo-liberalism and mercilessly failed".
Since the year 2000 she collects awards. Including the Marburg Literature Prize for "America", the Friedrich Luft Prize for "Und dann kam Mirna" (And then came Mirna), the Kassel Literature Prize for grotesque humor and most recently the Swiss Book Prize for her latest work: "GRM. Brainfuck ".
We are exited and curious about more…
Text: Nadja von der Hocht
Photo: Lesekreis, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons