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Bachmann, Ingeborg (1926 - 1973)

"There was one incidence that destroyed my whole childhood. That was when Hitler's troops marched into Klagenfurt ..."

Ingeborg Bachmann
 

The novelist, poet, playwright Ingeborg Bachmann has been recognized as one of post-1945 German literature’s most important writers. Her short story collection Das dreissigste Jahr [The Thirtieth Year] appeared in 1961. One of these tales, "Youth in an Austrian Town", tallies the costs of an Austrian childhood in the thirties and forties, and is one of her few works that contains some autobiographical information. She once said about her home country: "Don't ask us to present our country come what may. We exhale it anyway, that's good enough and bad enough".

After graduating from school Bachmann left Carinthia to join the "Gruppe 47" a loose congregation of major German authors that dominated German writing. In 1953 Bachmann moved from Vienna to Italy, where she took up residence. By 1954 she had moved to Rome, which remained her semi-permanent residence for the rest of her life. In September 1973 Bachmann suffered burns over a third of her body when she fell asleep with a burning cigarette. She died in a Roman hospital on October 17, 1973 as a consequence of her burns.

The Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, institutionalised in 1977 by the city of Klagenfurt, is the most prestigious Austrian literary distinction. Since its inception, it has been awarded to a highly diverse group of living authors.