Sibylle Berg is the most widely 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.
Sibylle was born and grew up in Weimar, East Germany, the daughter of a music professor and a librarian. After a number of her close friends were detained by the Stasi, she fled to West Germany, where she studied oceanography at Hamburg University. In 1996, she moved to Switzerland to live in her favourite city Zurich. She got married in 2004, gained Swiss citizenship in 2012, and lives for increasingly longer periods in Israel.
Her writing has been compared to that of Kurt Vonnegut, Brett 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 21 plays, 13 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. Her weekly column "Ask Ms Berg" has been published on Spiegel Online since January 2011.
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, including 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 including Katja Riemann, Matthias Brandt, Mary Ocher, Christian Ulmen, Jan Böhmermann and the band Kreidler. She regularly writes lyrics for the Swiss singer Sina. She also wrote the text for "Speed" by Phillip Boa and the Voodooclub, a band which, along with Rammstein and Element of Crime, appeared on the audiobook of her novel Sex II.
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.
2000: Marburg Literature Award (for the novel Amerika)
2006/07: Scholarchip Landis & Gyr London
2012: Award of City Zurich
2014: Theater heute magazine's play of the year award for "And Now: The World - The So-Called Outside Means Nothing To Me"
2016: Friedrich-Luft-Prize for the play "And then came Mirna"
2016: War Blinded Audio Play Prize for the play "And Now: The World"
2016: Audience Prize of Mülheimer Festival "Stücke 2016" for "And then came Mirna"
2016: Else-Lasker-Schüler Drama Prize