Heinz Helle


Heinz Helle

Born in Munich in 1978, Heinz Helle studied philosophy in Munich and New York and wrote his doctoral thesis on consciousness before working for several years as a copywriter in an advertisement agency. From 2009 to 2012, he studied at the Swiss Literary Institute. His debut novel Der beruhigende Klang von explodierendem Kerosin (2014, Superabundance, 2016) advanced to the shortlist of the Swiss Book Prize. He lives in Zurich with his wife, writer Julia Weber, and their two daughters.

In his new novel, Wellen (Waves), Heinz Helle writes about his role as a father. After his second daughter was born, he took care of the children and kept house. In this work of autofiction, he asks about happiness in daily life and makes space for emotions between rage and warmth. He depicts his thoughts and feelings in waves: sometimes he overflows with joy, only to be flooded by a surge of exhaustion in the next moment. Although keenly focused on his children, he doesn’t lose sight of his own life. For Heinz Helle, writing is a struggle to find a middle ground between care work and artistic work. For the writer, creating sentences is a reduction of reality and at the same time an escape from the mundane. “It’s not at all possible to portray reality with language. You can only ever render a partial portrait,” Helle said in an interview with WDR5. In his new novel, the author traces modern masculinity self-critically, balancing between self-awareness and self-abandon.

Wellen. Roman. Suhrkamp 2022
Die Überwindung der Schwerkraft. Roman. Suhrkamp 2018
Eigentlich müssten wir tanzen. Roman. Suhrkamp 2015
Der beruhigende Klang von explodierendem Kerosin. Roman. Suhrkamp 2014


28th Leukerbad International Literary Festival: 6.21.–23.2024