Peter Handke

© Marko Lipuš
Peter Handke was born on 6 December 1942 at Griffen (Carinthia). His mother's family belonged to Austria's Slovenian minority. After passing his Abitur (university entrance qualification) in 1961, Handke studied law at Graz. His first novel, The Hornets, appeared in 1966, by which time he had abandoned his studies. A little later that same year, his play Offending the Audience was premiered at the Theater am Turm in Frankfurt in a production directed by Claus Peymann.
This was followed over the next few decades by a succession of significant premieres: Kaspar (1968), The Ride across Lake Constance (1971), The Art of Asking (1988), The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other (1992), Underground Blues (2002) and Still Storm (2011), as well as more than 30 fiction and prose works such as The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty Kick (1969), The Left-Handed Woman (1976), The Chinaman of Pain (1983), The Repetition (1986) and My Year in No-Man's Bay (2004).
Apart from his work as a writer of fiction and drama, Peter Handke is a translator of Classical Greek works (Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides), and French and American authors (René Char, Francis Ponge, Walker Percy).

He received the Nestroy Theatre Prize for Still Storm (2011).

Prizes and awards (selection):
  • 1967: Gerhart Hauptmann Award
  • 1972: Literature Prize of the Province of Styria
  • 1973: Schiller Prize of the City of Mannheim
  • 1973: Georg Büchner Prize (prize money returned in 1999)
  • 1979: Prize of the Guild of German Film Theatres
  • 1979: Klosterneuburg Franz Kafka Prize (half of prize money passed on to Gerhard Meier)
  • 1983: Cultural Prize of the Province of Carinthia
  • 1983: Franz Grillparzer Prize
  • 1985: Anton Wildgans Prize (refused)
  • 1986: Literature Prize of the Cultural Fund of the City of Salzburg
  • 1987: Grand Austrian State Prize for Literature
  • 1988: Bremen Literature Prize 1991: Franz Grillparzer Prize
  • 1995: Schiller Memorial Prize
  • 2004: Siegfried Unseld Prize
  • 2006: Nomination for the Heinrich Heine Prize of the City of Düsseldorf on 20 May 2006: when three of the party groups on the City Council refused to endorse the jury's decision (30 May 2006), Handke declared he did not wish to accept the prize (2 June 2006).
  • 2007: Berlin Heinrich Heine Prize, an award established at the initiative of the Berliner Ensemble in response to Düsseldorf City Council's decision: Handke expressed his gratitude for their efforts, but did not accept the award and donated the prize money to an enclave in Kosovo.
  • 2008: Thomas Mann Literature Prize of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts (prize money donated to the Academy)
  • 2009: Franz Kafka Literature Prize of the City of Prague
  • 2011: Nestroy Theatre Prize for Still Storm – Salzburg Festival/Thalia Theater Hamburg (category: Best Play – Authors' Prize)
  • 2014: Else-Lasker-Schüler-Dramatikerpreis

    Theatre Library - Translations

    Translated plays by Peter Handke in the Theatre Library


    Immer noch Sturm (Still Storm)

    'The Jaunfeld district, Carinthia, southern Austria: A man's ancestors gather around him (or is he actually hovering on the fringes?): his grandparents and their children, his own mother among them.More ...

    List of works – Selection

    • Die schönen Tage von Aranjuez" (i.e. "The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez")
      UA 2012, Burgtheater (Akademietheater), Vienna
    • Immer noch Sturm (Still Storm)
      Premiere: 2011, Salzburg Festival, coproduction with the Thalia Theater, Hamburg
      Mülheimer Dramatikerpreis 2012
    • Mit Wim Wenders/Richard Reitinger Der Himmel über Berlin (Wings of Desire)
      Premiere: 2010, Salzburg Festival
    • Bis dass der Tag euch scheidet oder Eine Frage des Lichts (Till Day You Do Part or A Question of Light)
      Premiere: 2008, Comédie de Valence
      German premiere: 2009, Salzburg Festival
    • Spuren der Verirrten(Traces of the Lost)
      Premiere: 2007, Berliner Ensemble
    • Untertagblues (Underground Blues)
      Premiere: 2004, Berliner Ensemble
    • Zusammen mit Mladen Matic: Warum eine Küche (La cuisine)? (Why a Kitchen (La cuisine)?)
      Premiere: 2001, Théâtre Tattoo at the Théâtre Garonne
      German premiere: 2002, Choreographisches Theater Bonn
    • Die Fahrt im Einbaum oder das Stück zum Film vom Krieg (Voyage by Dugout)
      Premiere: 1999, Burgtheater, Vienna
    • Zurüstungen für die Unsterblichkeit. Königsdrama (Preparations for Immortality: A Royal Drama)
      Premiere: 1997, Burgtheater, Vienna
    • Die Stunde, da wir nichts voneinander wussten (The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other)
      Premiere: 1992, Burgtheater, Vienna
    • Das Spiel vom Fragen oder Die Reise ins sonore Land (Voyage to the Sonorous Land or The Art of Asking)
      Premiere: 1990, Burgtheater, Vienna
    • Über die Dörfer(Walk about the Villages)
      Premiere: 1982, Salzburg Festival
    • Die Unvernünftigen sterben aus(They are Dying Out)
      Premiere: 1974, Theater am Neumarkt, Zurich
    • Der Ritt über den Bodensee(The Ride across Lake Constance)
      Premiere: Schaubühne am Halleschen Ufer, Berlin
    • Quodlibet
      Premiere: 1970, Theater Basel
    • Das Mündel will Vormund sein(The Ward Wants to be the Guardian)
      Premiere: 1969, Theater am Turm, Frankfurt
    • Kaspar
      Premiere: 1968, Theater Oberhausen and Theater am Turm, Frankfurt
    • Hilferufe(Calling for Help)
      Premiere: 1967, Theater Oberhausen
    • Publikumsbeschimpfung(Offending the Audience)
      Premiere: 1966, Theater Oberhausen
    • Selbstbezichtigung(Self-Accusation)
      Premiere: 1966, Theater Oberhausen
    • Weissagung(Prophecy)
      Premiere: 1966, Theater Oberhausen
    • Der Jasager und der Neinsager (The Yes-Sayer and the No-Sayer)
      Premiere: 1966, Theater Oberhausen