Peter Handke

Peter Handke was born on December 6th, 1942, in Griffen, Carinthia in Austria. His mother’s side of the family belongs to the Slovenian minority; His father, a German, came to Carinthia after the Second World War. From 1954 to 1959 Handke went to secondary school (Gymnasium) in Tanzenberg (Carinthia) and the associated boarding school. After graduation in 1961, he commenced law studies in Graz. Peter Handke abandoned his studies before the last and final exam, and in March 1966 his first novel, The Hornets, was published. In the same year his now legendary play – Offending the Audience - was directed by Claus Peymann in Frankfurt am Main.

Since then he has written over thirty literary and prose works, including: The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick (1970), A Sorrow Beyond Dreams: A Life Story, (1972), Short Letter, Long Farewell (1972), The Left-Handed Woman (1976), The Weight of the World (1977), The Long Way Around (1979), The Lesson of Mont Sainte-Victoire (1980), Across (1983), Repetition (1986), Essay on Tiredness (1989), Essay on The Jukebox (1990), Essay on the Successful Day (1991), My Year in the No-Man's-Bay (1994), Crossing the Sierra de Gredos (2002), Moravian Night (2008), The Great Fall (2011), Essay on The Quiet Place (2012), Essay on the Mushroom Hunter (2013).

Following Offending the Audience, Kaspar premiered in 1968, also in Frankfurt am Main. From here his range of work spans to include The Ride across Lake Constance (1971), They Are Dying Out (1974), Walk about the Villages (1981), Voyage to the Sonorous Land or the Art of Asking (1990), The Hour We Knew Nothing Of Each Other (1992), Underground Blues: a Station Play (2004), Till Day You Do Part Or A Question of Light (2009), the dramatic epic Storm Still (2011), the summer dialogue The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez (2012) as well as the recent The Innocent, Me and the Unknown Woman by the Side of the Road (2016).

In addition, Peter Handke has translated into German many plays and works of prose from other writers: From Greek, plays by Aischylos, Sophokles and Euripides, from French Emmanuel Bove (including My Friends), René Char and Francis Ponge, and from American English, Walker Percy.

His work has been honored with numerous international awards. He explained the diversity of his work, the changing themes and use of a wide variety of genres (as lyricist, essayist, stage/screen playwright and director) himself in 2007 in the following way: “An artist is an exemplary person only if his works reveal the passage and pattern of life. He must go through three or four harrowing transformations.“


1966 The Hornets, novel
1966 Offending the Audience, novel
1967 Welcoming the Supervisor, prose texts
1967 The Peddler, novel
1969 The Innerworld of the Outerworld of the Innerworld: A Continuum Book, text collages
1969 3 American LPs, a film by Wim Wenders, script   
1969 The  Ward  Wants  To  Be  Warden,  play
1970 The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, novel and screenplay of the film adaptation (1972)
1970 Wind and Sea. Four Radio Plays
1971 The Ride across Lake Constance, play
1971 Chronicle of Current Events, TV movie
1972 I Am a Resident of the Ivory Tower, essays
1972 A Sorrow Beyond Dreams. A Life Story, biography
1975 A Moment of True Feeling, novel
1975 Wrong Move, novel and screenplay
1976 The Left-Handed Woman, novel and screenplay/ direction of the film adaptation in 1977
1977 The  Weight  of  the  World,  texts   
1979 The Long Way Round, story - also in Slow Homecoming
1980 The Lesson of Mount Sainte-Victoire, story - also in Slow Homecoming
1981 Child Story, story - also in Slow Homecoming
1981 Walk about the Villages, play
1981 The Wings of the Dove, script adapted from the novel by Henry James  
1982 History of the Pencil, texts
1983 Across, novel 
1986 Repetition, novel
1987 The Absence, novel then film version directed by himself in 1992
1987 The Afternoon of a Writer, novel
1987 Wings of Desire, directed by Wim Wenders, screenplay
1989 Essay About Tiredness
1989 Voyage to the Sonorous Land or the Art of Asking, play
1990 Once Again for Thucydides, essays
1990 Essay on the Jukebox
1991 Essay About the Successful Day. A Winterday's Dream
1992 The Hour We Knew Nothing Of Each Other, wordless play
1992 L’absence (The Absence), filmmaker  
1994 My Year in the No-Man's-Bay, novel
1996 A Summary Addendum to a Winter's Journey, essay
1997 On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House, novel
1997 Preparations for Immortality. A Royal Drama, play
1998 City of Angels directed by Brad Silberling, script
2002 Crossing the Sierra de Gredos, novel
2004 Don Juan - His Own Version, novel
2007 Kali (Eine Vorwintergeschichte), novel
2007 The Night of the Morava, novel
2009 Die Kuckucke von Velica Hoca, novel
2010 Storm Still, play
2012 The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez: A Summer Dialogue, play
2013 Underground Blues, play