Herta Müller

Literary Birthday – 17 August – Herta Müller

Happy Birthday, Herta Müller, born 17 August 1953.

Seven Quotes

  1. I have packed myself into silence so deeply and for so long that I can never unpack myself using words. When I speak, I only pack myself a little differently.
  2. Whatever I read went under my skin, I almost devoured the literature, which became like a road to discovery. And this is how it stayed. I always wanted to know, how should one live? I write in order to bear witness to life.
  3. I have it [this awful name Herta] because one of my mother’s friends in the camp was named Herta, and she died. My mother had promised that if she had a daughter, she would name the child after her friend.
  4. I lived through 50 or more interrogations, but I wouldn’t be satisfied with directly transposing events. Working with language requires beauty for me. I doubt you could do that in the same way in a memoir.
  5. I believe that every person is a unique individual in the world and has a unique relationship with that world. Each and every person.
  6. I have met so many sensitive people in all walks of life, doing all sorts of jobs, and I have never thought that I am capable of seeing something which these people who do not write cannot. Language, if it is capable of expressing life, is the language of those who do not write, and I have to use their language. If I write their language in a certain way, then I produce what we call literature, poetry, poetic atmosphere.
  7. Nowhere else in eastern Europe did people have to take their typewriter to the police, every year, and request a permit to use it.

Herta Müller is a German-Romanian novelist, poet, essayist and recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature. She won the IMPAC Award for her novel The Land of Green Plums. Her works have been translated into more than twenty languages

Source for image: Jindřich Nosek (NoJin), CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


by Amanda Patterson

Please click here for our Literary Birthday Calendar

Posted on: 17th August 2013