Elfriede Jelinek

Elfriede Jelinek - © Isolde Ohlbaum
© Isolde Ohlbaum
Elfriede Jelinek was born at Mürzzuschlag/Styria on October 20, 1946 and grew up in Vienna. When she was only four she started learning ballet and French, and in the years that followed received a comprehensive musical training. In 1960 she began to study piano and composition at the Vienna Conservatoire. After completing High School in 1964 she moved on to Vienna University and took courses in Theatre and Art History. In 1967 she broke off her studies and began to write. Poems and prose appeared in anthologies and literary magazines before her first book, "wir sind lockvögel baby" ("we're bait
baby") was published in 1970. By now Elfriede Jelinek is one of the most important contemporary authors writing in German. Her first play, "Was geschah, nachdem Nora ihren Mann verlassen hatte oder Stützen der Gesellschaften" ("What Happened after Nora left Her Husband or Pillars of Societies") was premiered in 1979 and has been followed by other texts for the theatre.

Prizes and Awards:

  • 1973 Austrian State Scholarship for Literature
  • 1978 Bad Gandersheim Roswitha Commemorative Medal
  • 1979 Federal German Ministry of the Interior's Screenplay Prize
  • 1986 Cologne's Heinrich Böll Prize
  • 1994 Bochum's Peter Weiss Prize
  • 1994 Aachen's Walter Hasenclever Literary Prize
  • 1995 Bremen's Literary Prize
  • 1998 Georg Büchner Prize
  • 2002 Berlin Theatre Prize
  • 2002 Düsseldorf's Heinrich Heine Prize
  • 2002 Mülheim Dramatists Prize for "Macht nichts" (i.e., "No problem")
  • Else Lasker Schüler Prize 2003 for her overall contribution to the theatre
  • 2004 Lessing Prize for Criticism
  • Nobel Prize for Literature 2004
  • 2004 Mülheim Dramatists Prize for "Das Werk" (i.e., "The Works")
  • 2009 Mülheim Dramatists prize for "Rechnitz (The exterminating Angel)"
  • 2011 Mülheim Dramatists prize for "Winter's Journey"