Mirjam Pressler, accomplished translator and one of Germany’s most successful authors of children’s and teenage fiction, died in January 2019.
Pressler grew up in a foster family and learnt about her Jewish heritage when she was a young child. Her books deal with trauma during childhood, as well as Jewish and religious life.
Her debut Bitterschokolade (1980), the story of a girl suffering from bulimia, was written when she was a single mother and won the Oldenburg Prize for Children’s Literature. It was the starting point for an illustrious writing career.
When S. Fischer approached her to translate Anne Frank’s Diary into German, she started to engage with her own Jewish heritage and history: Shylocks Tochter (1999) and Nathan und seine Kinder (2009) are amongst her most renowned works, offering alternative views on well-known literary antecedents (Shakespeare and G.E. Lessing, respectively).
She was awarded the German Youth Literature Prize in 1995 for Wenn das Glück kommt muss man ihm einen Stuhl hinstellen, a work inspired by her childhood memories.
Mirjam Pressler was also an accomplished translator of 300 books, among them the works of Amos Oz and John Steinbeck.
Her last book, Dunkles Gold, will be published posthumously in March 2019.