Nobel Prize winning author gives lecture at Swansea

Nobel Prize winning author, Herta Müller is visiting Swansea University on Monday 16 July to give a public reading from her latest novel Atemschaukel (The Hunger Angel).

Müller won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2009, one of only 12 women ever to do so and is best known for her novels like The Land of Green Plums (‘Herztier’ in German), a story of the terror experienced by herself and her writer friends in communist Romania, and The Hunger Angel, an account of life in a Soviet gulag where many Romanian-Germans, including Müller’s own mother, were deported after the Second World War.

Müller was previously at Swansea University in 1996; following her visit Dr Brigid Haines of the Department of Languages, Translation and Media edited a book of essays on her work, until recently one of the only books on the author in English.

A further book of essays on Müller edited by Dr Haines with Dr Lyn Marven of Liverpool University will appear with Oxford University Press in 2013; Dr Haines is also working on a monograph for the German publisher de Gruyter.

Herta Müller said of her return to Swansea: ‘I look forward to returning to Swansea because I felt very comfortable at the University; comfortable too in the soft landscape with its warm colours and rugged coastline’.

The public event is hosted by the Centre for Contemporary German Culture at Swansea University. The Centre produces world-class research on the literature and culture of twentieth- and twenty-first centuryGermany, Austria and Switzerland. The Centre is unique to Wales and makes an important contribution to German Studies in Britain, Europe and North America, promoting further research on the work of contemporary German-language authors and film-makers in the English-speaking world.

The reading from Herta Müller’s Atemschaukel (The Hunger Angel) will be held in the James Callaghan Lecture Theatre, Callaghan Building and starts promptly at 6pm. Everyone is welcome to attend and the event is free. For more information contact Brigid Haines (

About Herta Müller


Herta Müller was born in a German village in Romania in 1953. At the age of 15 she moved to the city of Timi¿oara to attend grammar school; she stayed on to study German and Romanian Studies at the University there. She later worked as a translator in a machine tools factory before she was sacked for refusing to cooperate with the Securitate, the Romanian secret police. She was increasingly subject to political persecution; as a result, in 1987, she emigrated to West Germany. She still lives in Berlin and is today considered one of Europe’s foremost contemporary writers.

Her Berlin novel Traveling on One Leg (‘Reisende auf einem Bein’ in German) provides an outsider’s view of the German capital from the perspective of a traumatised survivor of a hard-line Eastern European regime. Müller is also a prolific essayist, writing on a wide variety of social, political and aesthetic themes. Unusually for a writer, she also produces collages, which juxtapose words and images torn from their original contexts to form striking new patterns in the best tradition of Surrealism.

Herta Müller was honoured with the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2009. The committee described her as a writer ‘who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed’. Her works deal with vital contemporary issues: dictatorship, trauma, powerlessness, resistance, migration, and the ongoing legacy of fascist and communist rule inEurope; they do so in a rich, poetic language which imbues them with great power and depth. Her works exceed national boundaries and have universal appeal: they speak to a global audience attuned to political oppression and its lasting effects.

Herta Müller is also to receive an honorary degree from Swansea University - read more >>>

Reading by Herta Műller

Reading by Herta Műller Pt.2