Sibylle Berg

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Sibylle Berg (2019)

Sibylle Berg (born June 2, 1962 in Weimar ) is a German - Swiss writer and playwright . She writes novels , essays , short prose , plays and radio plays and works as a columnist .


Sibylle Berg was born in 1962 in Weimar as the daughter of a music professor and a librarian. Her parents divorced when she was five years old. After that, Berg lived with a distantly related couple of music professors for five years. From the age of ten to the age of 20, she lived with her alcoholic mother again.

After school she trained as a puppeteer. In 1984 she applied to leave the GDR and then lost her job at the Naumburg puppet theater . After three months, her application to leave the country was approved and she was able to move to the Federal Republic of Germany . Shortly after leaving, her mother took her own life.

Berg left Berlin for a three-month course at the Scuola Teatro Dimitri . When she returned to Germany, she lived in Hamburg and studied oceanography and political science . In addition, she worked in various professions (including gardening, cleaning lady, secretary, representative) and began to write. She worked continuously as a writer for various magazines. In 1992 she was in a car accident; as a result, her face had to be operated on several times.

In 1996 Berg moved to her favorite city of Zurich in Switzerland. She has been married since 2004 and sometimes lives in her second home, Tel Aviv , where she met her husband. In 2012 she received Swiss citizenship .



Berg's first novel A few people search for happiness and laugh themselves dead was published in 1997 by Reclam Verlag Leipzig after around 50 other publishers had canceled. It has sold over a hundred thousand times. As a result, Berg published numerous novels with various publishers. Her novel The man sleeps was last published by Hanser in 2009 , Thank you for life in 2012 and The day when my wife found a man in 2015 . The novel GRM followed in 2019 at Kiepenheuer & Witsch . Brainfuck , with which she landed her biggest bestseller to date. In 2020 she published the book Nerds save the world, also with Kiepenheuer & Witsch, in which she published interviews with scientists and experts. These interviews were made while preparing for her book GRM. Brainfuck .

Berg is regularly accompanied on her reading tours by actors and musicians, for example in 2012 for her book Thank you for the life of Katja Riemann , Matthias Brandt and the musician and artist Mariya Ocher or in 2015 for The Day when my wife found a husband from Christian Ulmen , August Zirner , Jan Böhmermann and the band Kreidler . To GRM. Brainfuck Berg staged a multimedia reading with three actors, rapper T. Roadz and grime co- founder Prince Rapid .


For the world premieres of her pieces, Berg prefers to work with directors over longer periods of time. First it was Niklaus Helbling in Bochum , whose production of Helges Leben (2000) was invited to the Mülheim theater festival . It was followed by a show, as the sun goes down (2003, Bochum), it will be fine ! Never love again (2004, Bochum) and Wünsch dir was (2006, Schauspielhaus Zürich ). The artists Gabríela Friðriksdóttir , Mathilde ter Heijne , Jon Pylypchuk, Jeremias Gotthelf and Erwin Koch contributed to the production Of Those Who Survive (2008) at the Schauspielhaus Zürich with contributions in language, image and sound . The last joint work with Niklas Helbling was Nur nachts (2010) at the Vienna Burgtheater .

Hasko Weber staged missions of beauty (2010) in Stuttgart , the main thing is work! (2010) and together with Sibylle Berg Angst travels with ... (2013).

Berg has been working with the director Sebastian Nübling at the Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin since 2013 . The first production It says nothing to me, the so-called Outside (2013) was chosen as the piece of the year 2014. The world premiere of And Then Came Mirna was awarded the Friedrich-Luft-Preis as “best Berlin and Potsdam performance of 2015”. Your piece of Wonderland Ave. was invited to the Mülheimer Theatertage 2019 .


In March 2013 Berg co-directed the world premiere of her play Angst travels with at the Schauspiel Stuttgart (together with Hasko Weber). In the same year she staged the all-day event A day with ... Sibylle Berg at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele . The world premiere of their play How to sell a Murder House with Caroline Peters and Marcus Kiepe took place in October 2015 at the Theater am Neumarkt Zurich .

Other Projects

Berg wrote travel reports, artist portraits and glosses for Marie Claire , Allegra , Schweizer Magazin , Die Zeit , Neue Zürcher Zeitung and Die Presse, among others . Since January 2011 she has also been working as a columnist for Spiegel Online and writes in the weekly until March 2018, since then fortnightly column SPON - Ask Ms. Sibylle . In a regularly published series of interviews, she speaks for the Swiss online magazine Republik with “Nerds” resp. Technical experts from a wide variety of disciplines.

Sibylle Berg has written numerous song texts for the Swiss singer Sina , and wrote the text Speed for Phillip Boa and the Voodooclub . In addition to Rammstein and Element of Crime , Phillip Boa and the Voodooclub can also be heard as musical guests on Berg's reading Sex II (1999).

From January 2016 to December 2017, she spoke to the ZDFneo talk show Schulz & Böhmermann, who wrote satirical texts to introduce the guests before the start of the program.

She is one of the supporters of the Charter of Fundamental Digital Rights of the European Union , which was published at the end of November 2016.

Educational canon

In 2018, together with Simone Meier , Hedwig Richter , Margarete Stokowski and seven other employees , she compiled the list These women must know , which she published in Spiegel Online and in August . The educational canon comprises 145 women and three groups of women, divided into science, technology and research, theory and politics, literature and art.

Teaching assignment

Since 2013, Berg has been teaching at the Zurich University of the Arts in the field of dramaturgy .


Sibylle Berg's works have been translated into 34 languages, her plays in 26 languages ​​alone.

Berg's debut A few people looking for happiness and laughing their way to death became a popular success despite various reviews (for example, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung rated it rather negatively, but the Spiegel clearly positively). Based on the novel, Stephan Bruckmeier wrote a stage version that premiered at the Rampe Theater in Stuttgart in 1999 and was subsequently performed at the Plays 2000 theater festival in Oberhausen .

The Bochum musician Karsten Riedel has set texts by Sibylle Berg to music.

Daniel Schreiber describes Berg's characters as "full of unfulfillable longings, living in creepy relationships and endowed with inadequate bodies", which they "chased through the gym of real neoliberalism and let them fail mercilessly".





As editor


  • A few people are looking for happiness and are laughing themselves to death. Premiere: Theater Rampe in Stuttgart, July 14, 1999; Director: Eva Hosemann
  • Helges Leben , premier: Schauspielhaus Bochum , October 21, 2000; Director: Niklaus Helbling
  • Dog, woman, man , (inspired by the story Pure Love by Yael Hedaya ), premier: Theater Rampe Stuttgart, September 29, 2001; Director: Stephan Bruckmeier
  • Herr Mautz , world premiere: Theater Oberhausen , March 9, 2002, director: Klaus Weise (written for leading actor Rolf Mautz )
  • Look, that's where the sun goes down , premiere: Schauspielhaus Bochum, March 22, 2003; Director: Niklaus Helbling
  • It will be fine. No more love! Premiere: Schauspielhaus Bochum, October 2nd, 2004; Director: Niklaus Helbling
  • Make a wish. Broadway-compatible musical by Frau Berg (music: Markus Schönholzer), premier: Schauspielhaus Zürich , September 29, 2006; Director: Niklaus Helbling
    • Book edition in: Four pieces (with Helge's life , look, the sun goes down and it will be fine ). Reclam, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-15-020168-8 .
  • Have I already told you ... A fairy tale for everyone , edited by Andreas Erdmann , premiere: Deutsches Theater Göttingen , October 2nd, 2007; Director: Katja Fillmann
  • From those who survive (four-part evening; Sibylle Berg's part consisted of a text on the sculptures by Jon Pylypchuk) WP: Schauspielhaus Zürich, September 17, 2008; Director: Niklaus Helbling
  • The golden last years , premier: Theater Bonn , February 18, 2009; Directed by Shirin Khodadadian
  • Only at night , premiere: Burgtheater Vienna (Casino), February 26, 2010; Director: Niklaus Helbling
  • The main thing is work! WP: Staatstheater Stuttgart , March 20, 2010; Director: Hasko Weber
  • Missions of beauty , premiere: Staatstheater Stuttgart, September 30, 2010; Director: Hasko Weber
  • Let yourself be surprised! A Christmas play , premier: Theater Bonn, December 3, 2010; Director: Maaike van Langen
  • The ladies are waiting , Premiere: Theater Bonn, December 15, 2012; Director: Klaus Weise.
  • Angst travels with , WP: Staatstheater Stuttgart, March 23, 2013; Direction: Hasko Weber, Sibylle Berg
  • It doesn't mean anything to me, the so-called outside = And now: The world! , Premiere: Maxim Gorki Theater , Berlin, November 23, 2013; Director: Sebastian Nübling .
  • Eat a lot, by Ms. Berg , premier: Halle Kalk of the Schauspiel Köln , October 18, 2014; Director: Rafael Sanchez .
  • My rather strange friend Walter , UA: Consol Theater Gelsenkirchen, November 9, 2014; Director: Andrea Kramer
  • And then came Mirna , premiere: Maxim Gorki Theater, Berlin, September 24, 2015, director: Sebastian Nübling. - Awarded the “Best Berlin and Potsdam Performance of 2015” with the Friedrich Luft Prize
  • How to Sell a Murder House. A danced real estate portfolio , WP: Theater am Neumarkt Zurich, October 8, 2015; Director: Sibylle Berg.
  • After us, the universe or the inner team knows no break , premiere: Maxim Gorki Theater, Berlin, September 15, 2017; Director: Sebastian Nübling
  • Wonderland Ave. , Premiere: Schauspiel Köln, June 8, 2018; Director: Ersan Mondtag
  • Hatred Triptych - Ways out of the Crisis , WP: Wiener Festwochen , May 24, 2019; Director: Ersan Mondtag
  • In the Gardens , Premiere: Theater Basel , November 16, 2019; Director: Miloš Lolić

Radio plays

Audio books


Web links

Commons : Sibylle Berg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Public certification of the establishment of Bergwerk GmbH on June 16, 1998 by the Zurich notary's office (old town).
  2. Sibylle Berg ,
  3. , homepage of the author
  4. ^ Berg in the Rheinische Post ,
  5. ^ A b Fritz von Klinggräff, writer Sibylle Berg in an interview about Weimar. Thüringer Allgemeine , August 12, 2012, last accessed on October 12, 2015.
  6. a b c d e f g Daniel Schreiber: Got away with life . Portrait in: Cicero , July 2012, pp. 100-103 ( online) ( Memento from March 7, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  7. In an interview in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung in 2006, she described the GDR in retrospect as “this cold, gray dirt country”: “Prosperity also relaxes” , NZZ, December 24, 2006
  8. Interview with Sibylle Berg , Musikexpress , April 29, 2016, accessed on May 19, 2016.
  9. ^ "Prosperity also relaxes" , NZZ, December 24, 2006
  10. Zueri makes you wet. EM city portrait by Sibylle Berg, Spiegel online, June 17, 2008.
  11. She has lived in Zurich for 16 years, the city she has always wanted to live in [...] She fell in love with this city when she came to Switzerland for the first time, when she had just fled from the GDR. in: Got away with life . Portrait of Daniel Schreiber in the magazine Cicero , July 2012, pp. 100-103 online ( memento from March 24, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) at
  12. ^ A b Fritz von Klinggräff: Writer Sibylle Berg in an interview about Weimar . Interview in: Thüringer Allgemeine , August 18, 2012.
  13. She has been married to a muscular bald man for eight years, whom she met in Tel Aviv, her second home. in: Got away with life . Portrait of Daniel Schreiber in the magazine Cicero , July 2012, pp. 100-103 online ( memento from March 24, 2016 in the Internet Archive ),
  14. ^ Sybille Berg: My little restless second country , Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , September 19, 2004, accessed on May 19, 2016.
  15. Berg, Sibylle: A few people are looking for happiness and are laughing themselves to death ,
  16. a b Sibylle Berg
  17. ^ "GRM": Out of print, but the next edition is coming. In: book report. April 23, 2019, accessed on May 7, 2019 (German).
  18. News ,
  19. News ,
  20. Stuttgarter Zeitung, Stuttgart Germany: Sibylle Berg in the Wagenhallen: "I'm making you all depressed today". Retrieved May 7, 2019 .
  21. Prize winners 2016. Accessed July 8, 2016.
  22. ^ Acting Union Zurich. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  23. FAZ from October 5, 2010, page 32: Miss Po and the hairy monkey
  24. “And then Mirna came”, awarded the Friedrich Luft Prize. In: Berliner Morgenpost , March 5, 2016, accessed on July 7, 2016.
  25. ↑ Play schedule Stuttgart. ( Memento of the original from July 8, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved July 7, 2016. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  26. Program information for the Berliner Festspiele. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  27. Program information from Theater Neumarkt. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  28. Article by Sibylle Berg . In: Zeit Online , accessed on June 9, 2014.
  29. ^ Author archive from NZZ Folio. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  30. Sibylle Berg: Too many women are crouching there, that can't work. In: Die Presse , February 11, 2012.
  31. SPON - Ask Ms. Sibylle . Spiegel Online , accessed June 9, 2014.
  32. ^ Republic: Sibylle Berg. Retrieved May 7, 2019 .
  33. Sibylle Berg
  36. ^ [1] ZDF page on Schulz and Böhmermann .
  37. Sibylle Berg and Team: You must know these women. In: Spiegel Online. August 23, 2018, accessed December 13, 2018; Sibylle Berg, Simone Meier u. a .: Who runs the world? 148 women whom you can take as an example. In: . August 22, 2018, accessed December 13, 2018.
  38. Sibylle Berg . Website of the rowohlt theater publisher.
  39. rowohlt Theaterverlag
  40. Hubert Spiegel: Are such small heads. No prescription required: Sibylle Berg's debut
  41. ^ Annette Meyhöfer: Sibylle Berg - KulturSPIEGEL 4/1997 . In: Der Spiegel . No. 4 , 1997 ( online - Mar. 31, 1997 ).
  42. A few people are looking for happiness and are laughing themselves dead ,
  43. Sibylle Berg
  44. Pieces 2000 Mülheim - A few people are looking for happiness and laugh themselves dead
  45. Event information on , accessed on August 1, 2016
  46. All studio guests of the Landis & Gyr Foundation. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on May 19, 2016 ; Retrieved May 19, 2016 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  47. Awards of the City of Zurich 2012. Accessed on May 19, 2016 .
  48. The highlights of the year: Subtle differences. In: kultiversum. Retrieved August 29, 2014 .
  49. ^ Film and Media Foundation NRW: Winner of the radio play award of the war blind 2016. Archived from the original on May 19, 2016 ; Retrieved May 19, 2016 .
  52. Awards of the City of Zurich 2017. Retrieved on February 7, 2018 .
  53. ^ "Against saturated sedation" - Sibylle Berg receives Kassel Literature Prize , of August 28, 2018, accessed September 1, 2018
  55. NESTROY PRICE The Vienna Theater Award - Best Play - author award - Sibylle Berg. In: Retrieved November 26, 2019 .
  56. ^ Federal Department of Home Affairs FDHA: Sibylle Berg receives the Swiss Grand Prix for Literature. Retrieved January 14, 2020 .
  57. The Bertolt Brecht Prize goes to Sibylle Berg. In: January 17, 2020, accessed January 17, 2020 .
  58. Baden-Wü of April 16, 2020 Art and Culture: Johann-Peter-Hebelpreis for writer Sibylle Berg , accessed on April 16, 2020
  59. Stephan Maus : Sibylle Berg: "That ends well". In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , February 14, 2005. (Review)
  60. New novel by Sibylle Berg - Love in the Times of Pornography. Review by Ursula März on Deutschlandradio Kultur on February 3, 2015, accessed on February 6, 2015
  61. No attitude, but entertainment in FAZ of November 27, 2013, page 29.
  62. Homepage Schauspiel Köln; Schedule: Ms. Berg eat lots of good food ( Memento of the original from October 28, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed October 20, 2014. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  63. A pack of deer with fangs in FAZ from October 10, 2015, page 14
  64. Andreas Tobler: Men, these "damn things". Tages-Anzeiger , October 10, 2015.
  65. Katja Bagger: The man as a dying species. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung , October 9, 2015.
  66. Christian Gampert: Homemade: Sibylle Berg stages himself. Deutschlandradio Kultur , October 8, 2015. (Audio)