Hanns-Josef Ortheil Kunstmomente

31 October 2023
Hanns-Josef Ortheil on YouTube

Foto: Frank Bauer


Hanns-Josef Ortheil

Hanns-Josef Ortheil is a German writer and pianist. He was born in Cologne on November 5, 1951. He became known for his novels, essays and autobiographical writings, as well as for his cultural journalistic texts in many newspapers and magazines.

His most widely read works include the novels Fermer (1979), Hecke (1983), Die große Liebe (2003), Die Erfindung des Lebens (2009), and his travel novels Die Moselreise, Die Berlinreise, and Die Mittelmeerreise, which he wrote as a child and teenager.

In addition, Ortheil has written historical novels that revolve around creative processes of art, music, and literature – such as the Goethe novel Faustina's Kisses (1998) set in Rome, the Venice novel Im Licht der Lagune (1999), and the Mozart novel Die Nacht des Don Juan (2000).

His pianistic training began while he was still a child, and later he was taught by well-known teachers such as the music pedagogue Erich Forneberg and the Arrau student Daniela Ballek. During a scholarship at the Roman Conservatorio, he had to interrupt this training due to illness caused by recurring tendinitis.

In addition to his work as a writer, Ortheil worked as a lecturer in literary studies at the University of Mainz and later as a professor of creative and literary writing at the University of Hildesheim, where he is still a senior professor. He is the founder of the Hildesheim Institute for Literary Writing and Literary Studies and, as a professor, has accompanied hundreds of young students on their paths to becoming authors over the past thirty years.

Hanns-Josef Ortheil has received many prizes and awards, including the Thomas Mann Prize, the Stefan Andres Prize, the Nicolas Born Prize, and the Brandenburg Literature Prize. Most recently, Prime Minister Malu Dreyer awarded him the Order of Merit of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate in Mainz.

His books are deeply personal in the eyes of his many readers, often inviting the reader to delve into the complexities of human emotion, memory, and self-discovery. His unique blend of autobiography, philosophy and poetics, as well as his reflections on music, art and literature, have made him a towering figure in contemporary German literature.

In our video of the week, gallerist and publisher Dr. Dorothea van der Koelen introduces Hanns-Josef Ortheil in the context of a long-standing friendship with her and the Mainz paper artist Lore Bert. In addition to their shared summers in the lagoon city, the topic is of course Ortheil's literature, both his latest work Kunstmomente and earlier books.

Visit our author reading with Hanns-Josef Ortheil on 11 November at CADORO!



Hanns-Josef Ortheil Kunstmomente

btb Verlag 2023 € 18.00

Wasser Venezia

Günther Uecker Wasser Venezia

Kunsttheorie vol. 11 2005 € 15.00

Dr.  Dorothea  van der Koelen