Botho Strauß

© Barbara Klemm

Botho Strauß was born on 2 December 1944 in Naumburg/Saale, the son of a chemist. After attending grammar school in Remscheid and Bad Ems, he studied German literature, drama history and sociology for several semesters in Cologne and Munich, as well as working as a supernumerary at the Munich Kammerspiele alongside his studies. From 1967 to 1970, Strauß worked as an editor and critic on the periodical “Theater Heute” and, from 1970 to 1975, as a dramaturg for Peter Stein at the Schaubühne am Halleschen Ufer in Berlin, where he contributed to productions and wrote adaptations that had a crucial influence on German theatre in the 1970s, such as “Peer Gynt”, “Kleists Traum vom Prinzen von Homburg” (“Kleist’s Dream of the Prince of Homburg”) and “Sommergäste” (“Summer Guests”). The productions of his own works (such as "Die Hypochonder" [“The Hypochondriacs”], "Trilogie des Wiedersehens” [“Three Acts of Recognition”], "Groß und klein" [“Big and Little”], "Kalldewey, Farce", “Der Park” [“The Park”] and “Schlusschor” [“Final Chorus”]) by Peter Stein and Luc Bondy are just as highly regarded as some of the most important in modern German theatrical history.

At the beginning of the 1990s, his cultural essay “Anschwellender Bocksgesang” (“Swelling Goat Song”), a critical examination of the 1968 generation, triggered a major controversy about the author’s changing political convictions.

His work as a writer has been recognised with numerous international prizes and his dramas are among the most performed in German-language theatres.

Today, Botho Strauß lives as a freelance writer in Berlin and the Uckermark and is a member of the PEN Centre of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Prizes and Awards:

  • 1975 Dramatists’ Prize of the City of Hanover
  • 1981 Literature Prize of the Bavarian Academy of the Fine Arts
  • 1982 Mühlheim Dramatists’ Prize
  • 1987 Jean Paul Prize
  • 1989 Georg Büchner Prize
  • 1993 Berlin Theatre Prize
  • 2001 Lessing Prize