Austrian Rebel: Elfriede Jelinek

Hedda House's Bio of woman playwright from Germany Elfriede Jelinek
There are no holidays for art; and that’s just fine with the artist. - Elfriede Jelinek Click To Tweet

Hi Friends ?

A version of this MicroBiog was originally posted on instagram in 2017. On the 5th November to be precise. I made a tenuous link with Guy Fawkes in an effort to make up for missing her birthday.

So there we were last year on Bonfire Night in the UK, (for those who’ve never heard of it, it’s the day we celebrate foiling a plot to blow up King James I and parliament in 1605) and so I thought it would be a good time to celebrate the author of a play dealing with terrorism and monarchy. Yeah.

Sometimes, of course, art creates the suffering in the first place. - Elfriede Jelinek Click To Tweet

The play in question is ‘Ulrike Maria Stuart’ and the playwright, Elfriede Jelinek. It premiered at the Thalia Theater Hamburg in 2006 and merges the Mary Stuart and Elizabeth I of Schiller’s play with Ulrike Meinhof and Gudrun Ensslin co-founders of the Red Army Faction (a far-left German terrorist group). It’s one of those plays I desperately want to read but my German simply isn’t up to it, if you ever stumble across an English language translation could you point me in it’s direction.

? Of her plays that have been translated into English, ‘Sports Play’ (‘Ein Sportstück’) premiered in 2012. Next up was ‘Jackie’ (one of the Princess Dramas) in 2013 as part of the Women’s Project in New York.

? Jelinek was the 2004 recipient of The Nobel Prize for Literature for her “musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that, with extraordinary linguistic zeal, reveal the absurdity of society’s clichés and their subjugating power.” In the same year she was awarded the Franz Kafka Prize. Her other Awards include the 1998 Georg Büchner Prize, and the Mülheim Dramatists Prize four times (in 2002, ’04, ’09 and ’11, in case you were wondering ?)

? Was unable to receive her Nobel prize in person as a result of her agoraphobia and social phobia. She sent a video message instead which is viewable on their official website:

? Is something of a creative powerhouse. Outside of writing scripts (for stage, screen and radio), poetry, essays, novels, translations, music, libretti and ballets, Jelinek creates film and video art. She studied the Organ at The Vienna Conservatory and also plays piano, guitar, violin, viola and recorder.

? Jelinek was raised in Vienna and her surname means “little deer” in Czech.

? She has written more than 25 plays, including responses to ‘Death And The Maiden’ and ‘The Dolls House’.

? Her numerous translations include works by Feydeau, Christopher Marlowe and Oscar Wilde.

? Her novel, ‘The Piano Teacher’ was turned into a film in 2001 starring Isabelle Huppert.

? Politically active. From 1974 – 91 was a Communist Party member and has been a vocal critic of modern consumer society.

HER FULL STATS: Born on 20th October 1946 in Mürzzuschlag, Styria, Austria.

The criteria of art are the imponderable, the immeasurable. - Elfriede Jelinek Click To Tweet
Biography of Nobel Prize winning Austrian female playwright Elfriede Jelinek. Read more about her amazing work at
Biography of Nobel Prize winning Austrian female playwright Elfriede Jelinek. Read more about her amazing work at

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