Josef Winkler

Roppongi - Novella

(German title: Roppongi)
ca. 160 pages
Josef Winkler
Foto: Josef Winkler
© Jerry Bauer

Born in Austria in 1953 and an author since 1982, Josef Winkler today lives in Klagenfurt.

»Josef Winkler is somebody who negotiates the frontiers and transforms his anxiety into desire by the act of writing, and with the risky balancing act on the brink of the abyss finds a firm equilibrium in the long term. He is not glorifying the other world […] but liberating the self in grand style. To this end, however, he initiates an unsettling process evoking matters previously suppressed, and by no means does he spare the reader in the process.« Süddeutsche Zeitung

Awards (selection):
Georg Büchner Prize 2008
Grand Austrian State Prize 2007
Franz Nabl Prize 2005
Premio Lateral 2005
Alfred Döblin Prize 2001
Prix André Gide 2000
Kranichsteiner Literaturpreis 1990
Anton Wildgans Prize 1980

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France (Verdier), Czech Republic (Archa), Bulgaria (Black Flamingo), Serbia (Leykam), Slovenia (Hermagoras/Mohorjeva)


Josef Winkler approaches the life, death and funeral of his father from ever new angles – organizing a "wake" for his father and thus allowing this larger-than-life figure who dominated his childhood and his early works to rise up once again.

»Three years ago, when I and my family were staying in Tokyo, where we took up residence in the Roppongi district«, writes Josef Winkler about his new book, »my father died, aged 99. One year before his death, after discovering that in my last volume of prose I had scattered neither cornflowers nor peonies for a farmer from my home village, he informed me in a short but dramatic telephone monologue that when the day finally arrived I should not come to his funeral. When we found out about his demise I was standing in the Austrian embassy in Tokyo, in front of a pane of floor-to-ceiling glass. I was staring out at a pool of orange wakin fish when a heron with wide outstretched wings alighted on the edge of the pool. Well then, I thought, in this moment of mourning and happiness, my dead father has reappeared to me in the shape of a white heron before being put underground, with his long, thin red legs and his long pointed beak, now covered in soil, looking for worms for his future grave in Roppongi. His curse had been fulfilled, we did not travel back but stayed in Roppongi.«


»Everything one appreciated in earlier works by Winkler has come to maturity here: the plight of describing, the self-irony, the unique, radical precision in arranging and formulating the motifs.« Frankfurter Rundschau

»Roppongi will decisively advance Winkler in his literary career not because he has finally overcome his Carinthian origins, but due to the lightness and awareness with which he brings together then separates the various narrative planes. This technique creates space for irony and wit to join the often ultra-precise (yet often fantastic) descriptions we have long known from this writer.« Der Standard

Other publications

Laß dich heimgeigen, Vater, oder Den Tod ins Herz mir schreibe/Take the Blame, Father or Death Be Writ into My Heart (2018)

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Czech Republic (Archa), Bulgaria (Black Flamingo)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Der Diwan)

Natura morta/Natura morta (2001)

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English world rights (Contra Mundum), Spanish world rights (Galaxia Gutenberg), Russia (AST Publishers), Arabic world rights (Le Fennec), France (Verdier), Italy (Forum Editrice Universitaria Udinese), Norway (Solum), Czech Republic (Archa), Bulgaria (Black Flamingo), Lithuania (Kitos Knygos), Croatia (Leykam), Bosnia (Vrijeme), Turkey (Pan), Ukraine (Knihy XXI)

Wenn es soweit ist/Wenn es soweit ist (1998)

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English world rights (Contra Mundum), Spanish world rights (Galaxia Gutenberg), France (Verdier), Czech Republic (Archa), Slovenia (Hermagoras)

Domra/Domra (1996)

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France (Verdier), Czech Republic (Archa), Macedonia (Ars Lamina)

Das Zöglingsheft des Jean Genet/Flowers for Jean Genet (1992)

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USA (Ariadne Press), France (Verdier), Czech Republic (Archa)

Friedhof der bitteren Orangen/The Graveyard of Bitter Oranges (1990)

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English world rights (Contra Mundum), Spanish world rights (Galaxia Gutenberg), Russia (AST Publishers), France (Verdier), Poland (Od Do), Czech Republic (Archa)

Der Leibeigene/Der Leibeigene (1987)

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USA (Ariadne), France (Verdier)

Die Verschleppung/Die Verschleppung (1983)

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France (Verdier), Japan (Dogakusha), Ukraine (Krytyka)