As a translator, she was internationally known. Most famous: her German version of the “Diary of Anne Frank”. After a long illness, the teen book author Mirjam Pressler died at the age of 78.

Mirjam Pressler has written more than 30 children’s and teen books such as “Malka Mai”, “When Happiness Is Needed, Put Him a Chair”, “November Cats” or “Nathan and His Children”. Many of her books translated into other languages ​​around the world, inspired theater people to pieces or were inspiring school readings.

At the age of 78, the German writer, who also became known through her translations of books by Amos Oz and Zeruya Shalev into German, died on Wednesday (16.01.2019). This was announced by the Verlagsgruppe Beltz in Weinheim.

Israel - writer Amos Oz together with Mirijam Pressler at the Leipzig Book Fair (picture alliance / dpa / H. Schmidt)
Sensible translator: Mirjam Pressler with Amos Oz at the Leipzig Book Fair (2015)

Mirjam Pressler was born on 18 June 1940 in Darmstadt as the illegitimate child of a Jewish mother. At first she grew up with a foster family, but soon has to go to a home. She spent her school days in boarding school. After studying and working as a taxi driver and saleswoman she landed with her first novel “Bittersweet” equal to a success – and got a prestigious children and youth book award.

Sensitive as a writer

The life worlds of children and adolescents were a life-long topic for Mirjam Pressler. She had a special gift for empathizing herself as a writer in the plight of children and adolescents, writing on topics such as eating disorders, growing up in difficult social circumstances, life on the run. “I do not want to write stories in which the only problem is whether the child gets a horse or not,” she once said.

High praised as a translator

In addition to her own books, Pressler wrote more than 300 translations from Hebrew to English, Dutch and Afrikaans into German. Her most famous translation to date is the German version of the “Diary of Anne Frank”.


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