Bodo Hell

Bodo Hell
© Sigrid Landl

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Bodo Hell

Bodo Hell, born in Salzburg in 1943, studied at the Salzburg Mozarteum (organ), at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna (film and television) and at the University of Vienna (philosophy, German studies, history). Today he lives as a poet, essayist and artist in Vienna, and in summer as a dairyman on a Styrian alpine pasture on the Dachstein. Hell proves himself more and more to be a master of montage realism, which gives language to everyday life, i.e. to quite normal madness, and thus in an extremely amusing way provides the reader with insight into himself and into the house he inhabits, into the madhouse of our society.

Hell’s versatile avant-garde oeuvre includes not only texts but also photography, films, radio plays, music and plays. Collaborations with Friederike Mayröcker, Liesl Ujvary and Hil de Gard. He has received awards including the Rauris Literature Prize (1972), the Erich Fried Prize (1991), the Berlin Literature Prize (1998), the Prize of the City of Vienna (1999), the Prize of the Literature Houses (2003), and the Telekom Prize Klagenfurt (2006). In 2017 he received the Christine Lavant Prize and the Heimrad Baker Prize; from the jury’s statement:

»Bodo Hell’s work opens up a magnificent panopticon − he explores the world on the basis of its linguistic aspects and vice versa: his work creates linguistic scenarios that allow us to experience our environment anew.«

»Bodo Hell approaches the world with ironic-encyclopedic ambition. (…) Literature that is highly alive and world-affirming, in contrast to the verbose forms of poetic experimentation.« (Paul Jandl, NZZ)