Klaus Pohl


Klaus Pohl

Klaus Pohl was born in 1952 in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, where his parents had fled from Silesia after the war. A trained greengrocer, he worked as a waiter in Munich and soon headed to Berlin to study acting. He worked in television and film and was a member of the Burgtheater ensemble for twenty-five years. He has written plays, scripts, radio plays, and essays. He moved to New York in 1992 and lives primarily there with his family. Writing, acting, and staging are all of a piece for Klaus Pohl—and he can do them all.

He never lost sight of Germany and its checkered history. And so he wrote a novel about Thomas Brasch Die Kinder der Preussischen Wüste (Children of the Prussian Desert). Then his life grew quieter. Now, however, Klaus Pohl is back—with his phenomenal novel Sein oder Nichtsein (To Be or Not to Be). In this book Pohl tells the story of the creation of a truly great work of art: the star director Peter Zadek’s memorable production in 1999 of “Hamlet” with the actor Angela Winkler in the title role. The fact that Klaus Pohl was part of this production, playing the role of Horatio, and attended the months-long rehearsal in Strassburg has certainly contributed to this small miracle. Thus the reader witnesses how a group of the very best theater actors of the past decades embarked on a journey into the unknown.

Klaus Pohl’s fictional version of this production is not only a historical cultural document, but also a poetic work of art filled with surprising twists and intimate portraits.

Sein oder Nichtsein. Roman. Galiani Berlin 2021
Die Kinder der Preussischen Wüste. Roman. Arche 2011


28th Leukerbad International Literary Festival: 6.21.–23.2024