Austrian writer Christine Nöstlinger has written over a hundred books for children of all ages, and in 2003 she received the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. She originally intended to be an artist and has also illustrated some of her own books. Besides her prolific work as a writer, she has also worked as a journalist. Two of her well-known books are Maikäfer, flieg! (Fly Away Home), 1973, and Zwei Wochen im Mai, 1981, describing nine-year-old Christel’s experiences in Vienna during the last year of World War II, are autobiographical. In October another autobiographical piece will be released – her memoires Glück ist was für Augenblicke (Happiness is a Moment), published by Residenz Verlag, who gives the following description of the story
…surviving the war in bomb shelters as a child; starting her first confession with a lie; learning about human nature on her kick scooter; loosing a borrowed bra during dance classes and holding her ground in a group of men as an art student. The great author of children’s and young adult literature, journalist, poet and writer tells us about marriages, daughters and affairs. We learn about her success, angry attacks by teachers and ludicrous political correctness sheriffs. She also questions the importance of aging gracefully.
The co-writer is Austrian journalist Doris Priesching. Jessica Beer, editor of the book and program manager of the fiction program at Residenz Verlag:
– As Christine is much too busy with all her books and other projects to write her memories by herself, we suggested her to have a co-worker – a well-known Austrian journalist – who would interview Christine for many many hours about her life. Doris would ask questions and Christine would talk. Then, Doris made transcripts of her tapes and brought some chronological order into the material. This served as a kind of “raw material” for Christine who then worked on the final text. That this text in the end turned out to be completely hers and went far beyond what was talked about, is Christine’s gift as a writer.
The idea of producing the book came from the publishing house.
–It was our idea – Christine is much too modest to think of her life as interesting, says Jessica Beer. We had to persuade her that in fact it is very interesting for a lot of people… But then, she enjoyed telling it.