Clemens Meyer

(born 1977 in Halle/Saale)

"I have a deeply rooted distrust of peer pressure."*

Clemens Meyer is a German author who has described the fall of the Berlin Wall from an East German perspective. With his debut novel Als wir träumten (Eng. publication title: As We Were Dreaming), the Leipzig-born writer Clemens Meyer achieved his literary breakthrough in 2006. The novel tells the story of a group of friends who spend an ecstatic and destructive youth in the anarchic post-reunification years. Petty crime, alcohol excesses, precarious conditions and juvenile detention testify to the lack of prospects of the four protagonists. It is Clemens Meyer’s precise observations of the milieu and the literarily cleverly interwoven autobiographical experiences that make his unembellished yet subtle stories so haunting. He has been awarded numerous prizes for his poetic-realistic work. In his novel Im Stein (Eng. publication title: Bricks and Mortar), published in 2013, he takes on the topics of sex work and forced prostitution in Leipzig’s red light district, proving once again the narrative value of East German perspectives in this game of power and dreams. After the AfD (Alternative für Deutschland, Eng.: Alternative for Germany) party recorded a high proportion of the vote in the 2019 Saxony state election, the author called for direct dialogue with voters in order to gain a better understanding of the result. Meyer reasons that even if some people can no longer be reached, every person with whom one succeeds makes all such dialogue worthwhile.

*Geißler, C., “Ich hab ein tief verankertes Misstrauen gegen Gruppenzwang” (I Have
a Deeply Rooted Distrust of Peer Pressure). Interview with Clemens Meyer, in:
Frankfurter Rundschau, 30/07/2020.

Credits: Gaby Gerster