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Sibylle Berg

Sibylle Berg

German writer
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro German writer
A.K.A. Sibylle Berg
Countries Switzerland German Democratic Republic Germany
Occupations Writer Playwright Novelist University teacher
Gender female
Birth 2 June 1968 (Weimar)
Star sign Gemini
Education University of Hamburg
Notable Works Der Mann schläft
Sibylle Berg
The details

Sibylle Berg (born 2 June 1962 in Weimar, East Germany) is a German writer. She writes novels, essays, short stories, and plays.


Sibylle Berg a recognized contemporary female writer in the German-speaking world, and has been heralded as one of Germany's most provocative writers. Her first novel "Ein Paar Leute suchen das Glück und lachen sich tot" ("A Few People Search For Happiness And Laugh Themselves To Death") was published in 1997 by Reclam Verlag to great acclaim, with one critic dubbing her "the new voice of a young, disenchanted generation". It was later translated into ten languages, used in school classes, and has sold around 400,000 copies.

Berg, who claimed, in the TV-Show "Willkommen Österreich", that she was born a man, grew up in Weimar, East Germany, the daughter of a music professor and a librarian. In 1984 she was allowed to leave the GDR permanently and to live in West Germany. She briefly studied oceanography at Hamburg University. In 1996, she moved to Switzerland to live in her favorite city Zurich. She married in 2004, attained Swiss citizenship in 2012, and lives for increasingly longer periods in Israel.

Her writing has been compared to that of Kurt Vonnegut, Bret Easton Ellis, Michel Houellebecq, and Will Self. She has become an iconic figure for Germany's alternative subcultures, and has gathered a huge following in Europe's LGBTQ and artistic communities. Sibylle Berg has now written 20 plays, 11 novels, as well as essays and columns for various newspapers and magazines. Her works have been translated into 34 languages. She has also written travel reports about the Khmer Rouge, the Bosnian conflict, the Bangladesh slums, and the gold miners of the Amazon. In March 2013, she co-directed her play "Fear Travels With Us" at the Schauspiel Stuttgart, and in the same year opened the "A Day With..." series at the Berliner Festspielhaus, where she curated a six-hour event, a vast performance collage that comprised both a showcase of her own work as well as the work of 20 other artists.

In October 2015, she directed the world premier of her play "How To Sell A Murder House" at the Theater Neumarkt in Zurich, working with the actors Caroline Peters and Marcus Kiepe. In 2015, the translation of her play "And Now: The World" toured successfully throughout the UK. She has also collaborated with several artists, many of whom have become her friends - Jon Pylypchuk, Dawn Mellor, Ute Mahler, Mathilde Ter Heinje, Gabríela Friðriksdóttir, Phillip Boa, Sophie Hunger and the late Michael Glawogger. Sibylle Berg's readings are multimedia events that combine video, live music, and the work of various collaborators. In autumn 2015 she delivered the laudation for Karl Ove Knausgård on his reception of the "Welt Literaturpreis", presented every year by the book supplement of Die Welt newspaper. Since January 2016, she has been working with the comedians Jan Böhmermann and Olli Schulz on the talk show "Schulz & Böhmermann" for German TV network ZDF.


Her first novel "Ein paar Leute suchen das Glück und lachen sich tot" ("A few people seek happiness and die laughing") was first published in 1997 and was later translated into ten languages. The novel is currently a regular in classes in Germany. It sold some 400,000 copies.

Her second novel "SEX II" was published in 1998, followed by "Amerika" (1999; novel), "Gold" (2000; essays), "Das Unerfreuliche zuerst. Herrengeschichten" (2001; stories), "Ende gut" (2004; novel), "Habe ich dir eigentlich schon erzählt..." (2006; fairy tale), "Die Fahrt" (2007; novel), "Vier Stücke" (2008, plays), "Der Mann schläft" (2009; novel, nominated for German Book Prize 2009), "Vielen Dank für das Leben" (2012, novel, nominated for the Swiss Book Prize 2012), "Wie halte ich das nur alles aus?" (2013, essays).

Sibylle Berg also published books, including: "Und ich dachte, es sei Liebe. Abschiedsbriefe von Frauen" (2006), and "Das war's dann wohl. Abschiedsbriefe von Männern" (2008).

Some of Sibylle Berg's works have been translated into 34 languages.


  • A Few People Search For Happiness And Laugh Themselves To Death / Ein paar Leute suchen das Glück und lachen sich tot. Roman. Reclam, Leipzig 1997; Reclam, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-15-021577-7.
  • Sex II. Roman. Reclam, Leipzig 1998; Reclam, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-15-021665-1.
  • Amerika. Roman. Hoffmann und Campe, Hamburg 1999; Goldmann, München 2001, ISBN 3-442-44848-4
  • Gold. Hoffmann und Campe, Hamburg 2000; erw. Taschenbuchausgabe: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln 2002, ISBN 3-462-03098-1.
  • Das Unerfreuliche zuerst. Herrengeschichten. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln 2001, ISBN 3-462-03037-X.
  • End Happy / Ende gut. Roman. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln 2004; Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 2005, ISBN 3-499-23858-6.
  • Did I Ever Tell You... A Fairy Tale For Everyone / Habe ich dir eigentlich schon erzählt… – Ein Märchen für alle. Illustriert von Rita Ackermann und Andro Wekua. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln 2006, ISBN 3-462-03735-8.
  • The Journey / Die Fahrt. Roman. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln 2007; Rowohlt, Reinbek 2009, ISBN 978-3-499-24775-0.
  • The Man Sleeps / Der Mann schläft. Roman. Hanser, München 2009; dtv, München 2011, ISBN 978-3-423-14002-7.
  • Thank You For This Life / Vielen Dank für das Leben. Roman. Hanser, München 2012, ISBN 978-3-446-23970-8.
  • How Am I Supposed To Stand All This? / Wie halte ich das nur alles aus? Fragen Sie Frau Sibylle. Hanser, München 2013, ISBN 978-3-446-24322-4.
  • The Day My Wife Found A Husband / Der Tag, als meine Frau einen Mann fand. Hanser, München 2015

Works in English

  • By the Way, Did I Ever Tell You Editor Raphael Gygax, Distributed Art Pub Incorporated, 2007, ISBN 9783905770773


Berg was nominated for the Mülheim Dramatists Prize with her plays Ein paar Leute suchen das Glück und lachen sich tot (2000), Helges Leben (2001), Hund, Frau, Mann (2002), and Die goldenen letzten Jahre (2009). In 2009 Helges Leben was turned into an opera by Mark Moebius and Karola Obermüller and premiered at Theater Bielefeld. She has also published four plays in English, under the title Victor's Life. In 2008 she was awarded the Wolfgang Koeppen Prize, an award given by writers to writers.

  • A Few People Search For Happiness And Laugh Themselves To Death / Ein paar Leute suchen das Glück und lachen sich tot. (1999)
  • Victor's Life / Helges Leben (2000)
  • Dog, Woman, Man / Hund, Frau, Mann" (2001)
  • Herr Mautz (2002)
  • Eine Stunde Glück (2003)
  • Look, The Sun Is Going Down / Schau, da geht die Sonne unter (2003)
  • It'll Be Alright. Never Love Again! / Das wird schon. Nie mehr Lieben! (2004)
  • Make A Wish / Wünsch dir was. Ein Musical (2006)
  • Of Those Who Will Survive /Von denen, die überleben (2008)
  • The Final Golden Years / Die goldenen letzten Jahre (2009)
  • Only At Night / Nur nachts (2010)
  • The Main Thing Is Work! / Hauptsache Arbeit! (2010)
  • Missions Of Beauty / Missionen der Schönheit (2010)
  • Don't Spoil The Surprise! / Lasst euch überraschen (2010)
  • The Ladies Are Waiting / Die Damen warten (2012)
  • Fear Travels With Us / Angst reist mit (2013, Berg's debut as stage director)
  • Es sagt mir nichts, das sogenannte Draußen (2013)
  • My Slightly Strange Friend Walter / Mein ziemlich seltsamer Freund Walter (2014)
  • Good Cooking / Viel gut essen, von Frau Berg (2014)
  • And Now: The World! / Und jetzt: Die Welt! (2015)
  • And Then Came Mirna / Und dann kam Mirna (2015)
  • How To Sell A Murder House (2015)

Sibylle Berg's plays have been translated into 19 languages.

Radio plays

  • Sex II shortend reading of Sibylle Berg, with music of Phillip Boa, Rammstein, Element of Crime, u. a. Reclam, Leipzig 1999.
  • Amerika, shortend reading of Sibylle Berg, Hoffmann und Campe, Hamburg 1999.
  • Gold shortend reading of Sibylle Berg, Hoffmann und Campe, Hamburg 2000.
  • Sex II, director: Stefan Hardt and Inga Busch and Beate Jensen (SWR). 2000.
  • Ein paar Leute suchen das Glück und lachen sich tot, director: Beate Andres. voice: Sophie Rois, Dagmar Sitte, Christian Berkel u. a. (NDR/HR), Munich 2003
  • Ende gut, Hörspiel, director: Claudia Johanna Leist, composer: Caspar Brötzmann (WDR). 2005.
  • Das wird schon. Nie mehr lieben!, adaptation: Wolfgang Stahl, director: Sven Stricker, voice: Leslie Malton, Stefanie Stappenbeck, Daniela Ziegler, Andreas Fröhlich (NDR) radio play of the month Juli. 2006.
  • Hongkong Airport, 23.45 h. director: Claudia Johanna Leist, voice: Christian Redl, Angelika Bartsch, Anna Thalbach, u. a. (WDR) 2007.
  • Der Mann schläft. director: Leonhard Koppelmann, composer: Gerd Bessler, voice: Judith Engel, Leonie Landa, Markus John, Jens Harzer, Achim Buch, Marion Breckwoldt, Christian Redl (NDR) 2010.
  • Vielen Dank für das Leben, shortend reading of Gustav Peter Wöhler, 5 CD, 397 minutes. radio play Hamburg, Hamburg 2012.
  • Und jetzt: die Welt! Oder: Es sagt mir nichts, das sogenannte Draußen., director: Stefan Kanis, voice: Marina Frenk (MDR) 2015.


Sibylle Berg writes for Der Spiegel and has been teaching dramaturgy at the ZHAW since 2013.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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