Duve, Karen 1961–

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Duve, Karen 1961–


Born 1961, in Hamburg, Germany.


Home—Brunsbüttel, Germany.


Freelance writer, 1990—. Has worked as a proofreader and a taxi driver.


Award for new prose, city of Arnsberg, Germany, 1991; Open Mike- Pankow Workshop Literary Prize, Berlin, Germany, 1994; Bettina von Arnim Award, third place, 1995; Gratwander Award, 1996; Heinrich Heine scholarship, 1997; guest of the Goethe Institute, Vietnam, 2000; Literature Award, city of Hamburg, Germany, 2001; Hebbel Award, 2004; International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, 2004, for Rain.


Im tiefen Schnee ein stilles Heim (short stories), Achilla Presse (Hamburg, Germany), 1995.

(With Judith Zaugg) Bruno Orso fliegt ins Weltall (comic), Maro Verlag (Augsburg, Germany), 1997.

(With Thies Völker) Lexikon berühmter Tiere, Eichborn (Frankfurt on Main, Germany), 1997.

Keine Ahnung: Erzahlungen, Suhrkamp (Frankfurt on Main, Germany), 1999.

Regenroman, Eichborn (Berlin, Germany), 1999, translation by Anthea Bell published as Rain, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2003.

(With Thies Völker) Lexikon berühmter Pflanzen, Eichborn (Frankfurt on Main, Germany), 1999.

Dies Ist Kein Liebeslied: Roman, Eichborn (Frankfurt on Main, Germany), 2002, translation published as This Is Not a Love Song, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2005.

Weihnachten mit Thomas Müller, Eichborn (Frankfurt on Main, Germany), 2003.

Die Entfuhrte Prinzessin: Von Drachen, Liebe Und Anderen Ungeheuern: Roman, Eichborn (Berlin, Germany), 2005.

Ne apie meil e daina, Algimantas (Vilnius, Lithuania), 2005.

Thomas Müller und der Zirkusbär, Eichborn (Frankfurt on Main, Germany), 2006.


German-born writer Karen Duve worked as a proofreader and a taxi driver in her native Hamburg following high school until 1990, when she became a full-time freelance writer. Since then, she has authored numerous novels and short stories, and has won several awards for her writing. Her novel, Regenroman, was her first to be translated into English, appearing as Rain. The book follows the adventures of Leon Ulbricht, a writer who has been hired to compile a gangster's memoirs. Leon must go to East Germany, where the gangster lives, in order to conduct the necessary research and interviews, and what he first imagines will be a wonderful, vacation-like trip, soon turns into a dreary, uncomfortable task. The gangster and his wife are at odds, and the town seems destined to float away beneath the unending rain. Barbara Baker, in a review for the Goethe Institute Web site, remarked that "among the strong points of the novel must be Karen Duve's sharp eye for detail, which builds out every scene vividly." Baker went on to note, however, that "the balance between realism and fantasy, between ‘comedy’ and violence is shaky, leaving the reader to conjecture that Duve's chief purpose is to be original." However, a critic for Kirkus Reviews found the book to be "an amiable and good-humored take on an old story, with an interesting West vs. East slant that enlivens what could have been some very stale city-slicker clichés."

Die Entfuhrte Prinzessin: Von Drachen, Liebe Und Anderen Ungeheuern: Roman is a fairy tale of sorts, telling the story of the Princess Lisvana, her two suitors, and a humorous dwarf. Harald Leusmann, in a review of the German edition for World Literature Today, dubbed Duve's effort "a wonderful read," and went on to note that "one gets easily and pleasantly lost in her narrative labyrinth."



Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2002, review of Rain, p. 1786.

Publishers Weekly, March 17, 2003, review of Rain, p. 55.

Times Literary Supplement, September 19, 2003, Elizabeth Winter, "Rain and Fire," review of Rain, p. 29.

World Literature Today, July 1, 2006, Harald Leusmann, review of Die Entfuhrte Prinzessin: Von Drachen, Liebe Und Anderen Ungeheuern: Roman, p. 66.


Bloomsbury USA Web site,http://www.bloomsburyusa.com/ (October 3, 2007), author profile.

Eichborn Berlin Web site,http://www.eichborn-berlin.de/ (October 3, 2007), author profile.

Goethe Institute Web site,http://www.goethe.de/ (October 3, 2007), Barbara Baker, review of Rain.