Mirjam Pressler

Mirjam Pressler

 

Germany

 

An illegitimate child of Jewish descent, Mirjam Pressler was raised by elderly foster parents. She attended the Frankfurt Academy of Fine Arts and studied languages in Munich. After living on a kibbutz in Israel, she returned to Germany and worked at various jobs to support her family. At 40 she wrote her first book, Bitterschokolade, (Bitter chocolate, 1980) in which she wrote of “damaged childhoods”, of children that encounter loneliness or violence. The book won the Oldenburg Children’s and Youth Literature Prize and was translated into several languages. She has written numerous stories for children and young adults including Wenn das Glück kommt, muss man ihm einen Stuhl hinstellen (When happiness turns up, offer it a chair, 1994), which won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis and Malka Mai (Malka Mai, 2001), which in 2002 won the Deutscher Bücherpreis. She has written on the themes of Jewish childhoods Ich sehne mich so … die Lebensgeschichte der Anne Frank (I have such longings, the life story of Anne Frank, 1992) and religious intolerance, Nathan und seine Kinder (Nathan and his children, 2009), which was nominated for the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis. Miriam Pressler is also an accomplished translator, translating from Hebrew, Dutch, Flemish, Afrikaans and English. Mirjam Pressler was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1996 and 2014 and was a Finalist in 2014.