Mirjam Pressler, 78, German juv. author/translator ("Anne Frank") & HCAA nominee
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2019-01-31 17:59:23 UTC
She was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2014.


First half of obit:

Mirjam Pressler, an award-winning German author of 30 mostly children's books, has died aged 78. She portrayed tough, not prissy childhoods. Her 300 translations included an acclaimed version of Anne Frank's diary.

Mirjam Pressler, who refused to write fantasy reduced to whether the "child gets a pony or not" died at her home in Landshut, Bavaria, after a long illness, her publishing house Beltz announced Wednesday.

Just before Christmas, she had received Germany's Federal Order of Merit for fostering understanding between Germany and Israel and remembrance of Nazi injustices.

Read more: The right book can move some people deeply.

Her last novel "Dunkles Gold" (Dark Gold), due for release in March, spans from a Middle Ages' pest epidemic pogrom to anti-Semitic incidents in present-day Germany.

In a career not unlike J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame, Pressler in 1980, then a 39-year-old single mother needing money, wrote her first novel "Bitterschokolade" (Bitter Chocolate) about a girl suffering from bulimia.

With it, she won her first youth literature prize and the book went on to sell 400,000 copies.
Deutschland Internationaler Literaturpreis Übersetzerin Mirjam Pressler und Schriftsteller Amos Oz (picture-alliance/dpa/S. Pilick)

Berlin, July 2015: Pressler with Amoz Oz

"What I want is a serious take of the childhood world and what belongs to both its exterior and interior [experience], with all its difficulties," she wrote.

"Stolperstein" (Stumbling Stone) about physically handicapped Thomas followed in 1981 and lonely Ilse in "Novemberkatzen" (November Cats) in 1982. Her 2011 work, "Ein Buch für Hanna" (A Book for Hanna) recounted the 1939 emigration of a 14-year-old Jewish girl to then Palestine...


And, later on:

...She translated more than 300 works into German from Hebrew, English, Dutch and Afrikaans, including novels by John Steinbeck, Zeruya Shalev and Amos Oz...

(other obits, also in English)

(her site)

(in German)

(photo and short bio)

(book covers and photos)

(includes partial booklist and long article about her work)

(Kirkus reviews)

(reader reviews)


2019-02-01 14:50:06 UTC
Turns out she was Germany's HCAA finalist FOUR times - in 1996, 2014, 2016, and 2018!

The only other German authors who ranked that high were the late Otfried Preußler (four times) and the late Peter Härtling (six times). Plus those who WON the HCAA Medal - Erich Kästner and James Krüss, who both won in the 1960s, on the first times they were nominated. (To my knowledge, once you've won an HCAA, you never get nominated again, since the award applies to your entire bibliography, not just one book.)