Peter Handke (born 6 December 1942, in Griffen, Austria) is an avant-garde Austrian novelist and playwright.
Handke and his mother (a Carinthian Slovene whose suicide in 1971 is the subject of Handke's A Sorrow Beyond Dreams, a reflection on her life) lived in the Soviet-occupied Pankow district of Berlin from 1944 to 1948 before resettling in Griffen. According to some of his biographers, his stepfather Bruno's alcoholism and the limited cultural life of the small town contributed to Handke's antipathy to habit and restrictiveness.
In 1954 Handke was sent to the Catholic Marianum boys' boarding school at Tanzenberg Castle in Sankt Veit an der Glan, Carinthia. Here, he published his first writing in the school newspaper, Fackel. In 1959, he moved to Klagenfurt, where he went to high school, and in 1961, he commenced law studies at the University of Graz.