Otfried Preußler Remembered and the Nebula Awards

On Monday, Otfried Preußler, writer of many popular German children’s books, died aged 89. Here is a more extensive obituary in German from the Süddeutsche Zeitung. I’m one of the German children and teens who grew up with Preußler’s stories from the delightful Robber Hotzenplotz via The Little Ghost, The Little Witch and The Little Waterman to Krabat, his lone foray into YA fantasy with its uncommon 17th century setting and Sorbian background. If you grew up in Germany sometime between the 1950s and 1980s, the works of Otfried Preußler were often your first and only contact with the fantasy genre. Preußler’s tales faded somewhat in popularity during the later 1980s and 1990s, but were repackaged and reprinted (also in English) for a new generation of readers in the wake of Harry Potter. And a beautiful, if not entirely faithful, film adaption of Krabat was made in 2008. So let’s remember Otfried Preußler who introduced generations of German kids to the fantasy genre.

The nominations for the 2012 Nebula Awards have been announced. Looks like a nicely diverse mix of titles and authors. Lots of women and several writers of colour as well. I’m particularly pleased to see Beasts of the Southern Wild and the unfairly maligned John Carter nominated in the screenplay category, though it’s a pretty sure bet that both will lose out to The Avengers.

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9 Responses to Otfried Preußler Remembered and the Nebula Awards

  1. sherwood smith says:

    I’ve never heard of him! I read the obit, and now I want to read his autobiography, if it does get published. And I very much want to read some of his kids’ fantasies. Going to see if I can find some right now.

    • Cora says:

      Amazon.com has a bunch of Otfried Preußler books in both English and German, though most of them are only available in print editions, probably because they are illustrated. His YA fantasy novel Krabat is available as an e-book in both German and English, though.

  2. Estara says:

    Did you ever read Die Abenteuer des Starken Wanja? That introduced me to the Russian folklore fairytale – and made a few of the Czech fairy-tale movies more understandable at the time. I’ve been playing casual games on Bigfish and there are a few very well-made Russian folklore Hidden Object Adventures now – lovely, really.

    Ditto to reading all those Preußer books and watching the TV versions (wasn’t that Gerd Fröbe as the robber at the time?) and crossing over from traditional fairy-tales to fantasy with him. And Max Kruse. And Michael Ende (more Jim Knopf, than Momo or the Neverending Story) – and die Augsburger Puppenkiste on TV.

    • Estara says:

      As a matter of fact Preußler is the only author I ever wrote a fan letter with illustrations to, and he sent me a form postcard back with a thank you typed, but signed by him ^^.

    • Cora says:

      Die Abenteuer des Starken Wanja doesn’t ring a bell, though it’s possible I read it and forgot the title. I did get some early exposure to Russian folklore and fairytales, but via the East German children’s books that my East German great-aunt sent me for Christmas.

      And yes, Gert Fröbe definitely played Robber Hotzenplotz, though I saw the play at the theatre (one of those Christmas performances for children) before I ever saw the film version. Loved Michael Ende and Max Kruse (who was the son of Käthe Kruse, the dollmaker, and model for one of her dolls) and the Augsburger Puppenkiste adaptions as well.

      • Estara says:

        I live in Donauwörth ^^ – we have the Käthe Kruse museum and a factory as well – there’s even regular Werksverkauf every Friday. When we my parents took Leonie to visit me last summer hols, there was an Augsburger Puppenkiste special exhibit in the museum as well. Unfortunately she was a bit too young to appreciate the not very pretty dolls of the Puppenkiste and the highlight was a room upstairs that had a Kasperltheater where Leonie and I entertained my parents for ten minutes ^^. Heh.

        • Cora says:

          Oh right, I had forgotten that you actually are in Donauwörth. The museum and factory tours must be fascinating, but then I used to collect dolls until I ran out of space. Though Leonie probably is a bit young to appreciate either the Käthe Kruse dolls or the Augsburger Puppenkiste puppets. Kids that age tend to go for Baby Born rather than Käthe Kruse dolls. Though I recently spotted a Käthe Kruse doll – one of those life-size natural looking baby dolls that were modelled after Max Kruse – clutched in the arms of a four-year-old girl. But then, the parents and grandparents of that particular kid are the sort of people who would buy a very pricey collector’s doll for a four-year-old.

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