Thomas Pletzinger was born in 1975 and grew up in Germany's industrial area Ruhrgebiet. He holds an M.A from Hamburg University and an MFA from the German Literature Institute Leipzig. He worked for publishers and a literary scouting agency in New York. Pletzinger has won several awards for his writing, including fellowships and teaching positions at the University of Iowa, New York University, and Grinnell College. He currently lives in Berlin where he works as a translator and screenwriter at adler & soehne. He teaches at the University of Fine Arts Hamburg. His critically acclaimed Funeral for a Dog was published in the U.S. in March 2011.
Funeral for a Dog is translated by Ross Benjamin, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Times Literary Supplement, Bookforum, The Nation, and other publications. His translations include Friedrich Hölderlins Hyperion (Archipelago Books, 2008), Kevin Vennemanns Close to Jedenew (Melville House, 2008), Joseph Roth's Job (Archipelago, 2010) and Thomas Pletzinger's Funeral for a Dog (W.W. Norton & Company, 2011). He was awarded the 2010 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize for his rendering of Michael Maar's Speak, Nabokov (Verso Books, 2009). He was a 20032004 Fulbright Scholar in Berlin and is a graduate of Vassar College. He is currently at work on a novel about the Harlem Renaissance.
This biography was last updated on 03/04/2016.
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A Conversation with Thomas Pletzinger, Author of Funeral for a Dog
Q: For a time you were a semi-pro basketball player in Europe. Did this experience influence your writing?
This experience is something I think about a lot. I had always wanted to become a professional basketball player, and almost did make it. I do not know if a certain ambition or competitiveness or the desire to achieve or complete something is related to having been a basketball player or a sports person in general. Maybe it is, but maybe these things were there before I even started playing basketball. Certainly elements like discipline, ritual and monotony as well as play and creativity - aspects that shape the basketball player's life day in and day out - made a reappearance in my writerly life. Especially training and ritual and the abilities that come from them. And the physical and sensual aspects of sports are important to me as a writer as well. I still love to run and lift weights. I ran a couple marathons. And I still love basketball, even though I failed at it as a player. Right now, I am even working on a non-fiction book about basketball that picks up where I left the game fifteen years ago.
Q: Funeral for a Dog takes readers to several ...
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