Uwe Timm

Life and work

Uwe Timm was the youngest son in his family. His brother, 16 years his senior, was a soldier in the Waffen SS and died in Ukraine in 1943. Decades later, Uwe Timm approached his relationship with his father and brother in the critically acclaimed novel In my brother's shadow.

After working as a furrier, Timm studied Philosophy and German in Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 and Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, achieving a Ph.D. in German literature in 1971 with his thesis: The Problem of Absurdity in the Works of Albert Camus. During his studies, Timm was engaged in leftist activities of the 1960s. He became a member of the Socialist German Student Union
Sozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund
Der Sozialistische Deutsche Studentenbund was founded 1946 in Hamburg, Germany, as the college organisation of the SPD...

 and was associated with Benno Ohnesorg
Benno Ohnesorg
Benno Ohnesorg was a German university student killed by a policeman during a demonstration in West Berlin.- Death :On June 2, 1967, Ohnesorg participated in a protest held near the Deutsche Oper, aimed against the state visit of the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was attending a...

. From 1973 to 1981 he was a member of the German Communist Party
German Communist Party
The German Communist Party is a Marxist-Leninist party in Germany.-History:The DKP was formed in West Germany in 1968, in order to fill the place of the Communist Party of Germany , which had been banned by the Federal Constitutional Court in 1956...

. Three times Timm has been called as a writer-in-residence to several universities in English-speaking countries: in 1981 to the University of Warwick
University of Warwick
The University of Warwick is a public research university located in Coventry, United Kingdom...

, in 1994 to Swansea
Swansea is a coastal city and county in Wales. Swansea is in the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Situated on the sandy South West Wales coast, the county area includes the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw uplands...

 and in 1997 to the Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university located in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. Founded in 1853, and named for George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all fifty U.S. states and more than 110 nations...

. He has also been a lecturer at universities in Paderborn, Darmstadt, Lüneburg and Frankfurt.

Timm started publishing in the early 1970s and became known to a larger audience in Germany after one of his children's books, Rennschwein Rudi Rüssel, was turned into a movie. Today he is one of the most successful contemporary authors in Germany. His books Die Entdeckung der Currywurst (The Invention of the Curried Saussage) and Am Beispiels meines Bruders (In my brother's shadow) can both be found on the syllabus of German schools. His readers usually appreciate Timm's writing style, which he himself calls "die Ästhetik des Alltags" ("the aesthetics of everyday life"). Timm imitates everyday storytelling by using everyday vocabulary and simple sentences and generally tries to imitate the way stories are orally told. His works are often indirectly linked with each other by taking up minor characters from one story and making this character the main character of another work. For example, a minor character like Mrs Brücker from Johannisnacht is taken up as a main character in his book Die Entdeckung der Currywurst. Timm's works also tend to have autobiographical features and often deal with the German past or are set in the German past.


  • 1995 Bavarian Film Award
    Bayerischer Filmpreis
    The Bavarian Film Awards have been awarded annually since 1979 by the State Government of Bavaria in Germany for “exceptional achievement in German filmmaking.” Along with the German Film Awards, these are the most highly regarded awards for filmmaking achievement in Germany.The Bavarian Film...

    , Best Young People's Film http://www.bayern.de/Anlage19170/PreistraegerdesBayerischenFilmpreises-Pierrot.pdf
  • 1990 Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis
    Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis
    The Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis is an annual award established in 1956 by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth to recognise outstanding works of children's literature. It is Germany's only state-funded literary award. In the past, authors from many countries...

     for Rennschwein Rudi Rüssel
  • 2009 Heinrich-Böll-Preis
    Heinrich-Böll-Preis is a literary prize of Germany....

English translations

  • The Snake Tree, 1989
  • Headhunter, 1994
  • The Invention of Curried Sausage, 1995
  • Midsummer Night, 1998
  • Morenga, 2003
  • In My Brother's Shadow
    In My Brother's Shadow
    In My Brother's Shadow: A Life and Death in the SS is the title of a semi-autobiographical novel by Uwe Timm. It was translated and published in English in 2005. The plot, based on Timm's own experience living through World War II, tells the story of the protagonist's brother, an SS corporal killed...

    : A Life and Death in the SS, 2005
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