Herta Müller Biography, Life, Interesting Facts

Writer

Herta Müller

Birthday :

August 17, 1953

Birth Place :

Banat, Timis, Banat, Romania

Zodiac Sign :

Leo

Chinese Zodiac :

Snake

Birth Element :

Water


Herta Müller was the winner of 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature, famous for her writings.

Childhood And Early Life

Herta Müller was born on 17 of  August 17, 1953, in Ni?chidorf. The village in Banat, Southern Romania. She was the only child. Her mother was deported to Soviet Union's, forced into a labor camp until 1950.

Herta Müller father was arrested during World War II for volunteering for Hitler's Waffen-SS in the Panzer Division Frundsberg; he became a truck driver after the war.

In 1965, Nicolae Ceausescu took power. Hence the family’s wealth was confiscated by Communist Romania.

Education

Herta Müller went to Nikolaus Lenau High School, although the school was in Romania, it taught in German. After high school, she went to the West University of Timi?oara, to do German studies and Romanian literature.

While in university, she joined Actionsgruppe Banat, a dissident writers group calling for freedom of speech. The group was dissolved in 1975.

Early Career

After graduating in 1976, Herta Müller worked for an engineering company. She translated technical specifications, and she turned down a request to be an informant in 1979. Her refusal to help the secret police ended with her being dismissed.

To make ends meet, Herta started teaching kindergarten and German language privately.

Rise To Fame

Herta Müller published her first book, Niederungen (Nadirs) in 1982, after the death of her father due to liver disease. Niederungen was a collection of short stories that gained her fame, but her family shunned her for exposing the darker side of Romania.

The more censored version was released in 1984, but she had managed to get the original version published in Germany.  

After releasing  Drückender Tango in 1984, she continued to write. Herta’s first work to be translated into English was The Passport, where it was first published in 1986. A year later, Herta was allowed to emigrate to Berlin.

Herta Müller was ‘sold’ by her country for eight thousand Deutsche Marks, paid for by the German State. But her emigration date was 29 February 1987, after a lengthy battle, she and her husband Richard Wagner finally settled in West Germany.

Life In Germany

In West Germany, Herta Müller continued to write. She also became a guest lecturer, giving talks to different universities. She wrote twenty-five books in total, mostly fiction and poetry. Her more famous publications include Herztier, Atemschaukel, and Reisende auf einem Bein.

Despite leaving Romania, Herta Müller was still hounded by the secret police, who had accused her of being a secret agent. In 2009, Herta managed to get her file from the Securitate, revealing that she was protected only by her reputation in Germany.

Awards

Herta Müller book Herztier or The Land of Green Plums received the  International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 1998.

Other notable awards are Roswitha Prize, Kleist Prize, and the Aristeion Prize. She was also elected as a member of the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung.

In 2009,  Herta Müller bagged the Franz Werfel Human Rights Award for the publication of Atemschaukel, written based on her friend Oskar Pastior’s experiences. She also won the  Nobel Prize in Literature for her work in poetry.

Personal Life

Herta Müller married Richard Wagner, who was also a novelist in Romania. The pair moved to West Germany together.

They separated in 1990 and had their marriage annulled. She married Harry Merkle straight after the annulment.


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