Volker Braun Biography

Volker Braun is a German writer. His works include Provokation für mich (Provocation for me) – a collection of poems written between 1959 and 1964 and published in 1965, a play, Die Kipper (The Dumpers) (1972; written 1962–1965), and Das ungezwungne Leben Kasts (The Unrestrained Life of Kast) (1972).

Volker Braun, who worked in mining and civil engineering after the Abitur before he studied philosophy in Leipzig, occupied himself with the contradictions and hopes in a socialist state. A member of the SED since 1960, he succeeded in publishing his prose and poetry due to the application of his tactical skill.
His work included spoken poems, theatre pieces, novels and stories.

At first his work reflected a critical enthusiasm for the build up of socialism. From 1965 to 1967, Braun worked as an artistic director at the Berliner Ensemble from Helene Weigel's invitation. After the events of the Prague Spring, he occupied himself pulling together criticism of the life in Socialism and the possibility of reform. After that, he would be watched over strongly by the Stasi. Since 1976, Braun worked at the Deutsches Theater Berlin (German Theatre Berlin) and belonged to the artists who signed the petitions against Wolf Biermann's expatriation in 1976. From 1979 he was active again in the Berliner Ensemble. He left the Writer's Union of East Germany in 1982. Nevertheless, he received the Lessing Prize of East Germany in 1981 and the National Prize of East Germany in 1988.

During the Wende, Braun belonged to the supporters of an independent "third way" for East Germany. After the reunification, Braun occupied himself with critiques of the foundations for the failure of East Germany. In this connection stood also his cooperation with that of Wolfgang Fritz Haug surrendered the western-Marxist periodical "Das Argument".

1986 Braun would awarded the Bremer Literature Prize and 1992 he got the excellence of the Schiller Memorial Prize. He was awarded a stipend of the Villa Massimo and a guest of the University of Wales in 1994. In 1996, he received the Deutschen Kritikerpreis (German Critic Prize), became a member of the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung, the Sächsische Akademie der Künste (Saxon Academy of the Arts) and held Poet-lecturer at the University of Heidelberg. He received the Erwin Strittmatter Prize in 1998 and the Georg Büchner Prize in 2000. From 1999 to 2000, he was the Brothers Grimm-professor at the University of Kassel. He would be elected to the Director of the Literature Section of the Akademie der Künste in 2006. In 2008, he received the 2007 ver.di-Literature Prize 2007 for his story, "Das Mittagsmahl" (The Midday Meal).

Volker Braun lives in Berlin.