born November 11, 1929 in Kaufbeuren, is a poet and essayist keen on making literary forays into the domains of theatre, film, opera, radio drama, reportage and translation. He is also the author of two novels and a number of children’s books. Having finished secondary school after World War II, he kept his family fed by doing some underhand business, as well as working as an interpreter and barman for the British RAF. He studied literature and philosophy at the universities of Erlangen, Freiburg, Hamburg and Paris, earning his doctorate in 1955. Having worked briefly in publishing and radio broadcasting, he decided to devote himself to writing full-time and never held a job again. He spent over ten years abroad, in Norway, Italy, Russia, the United States and Cuba. On his return to Germany in 1969 he settled in Berlin and Munich.
He founded the Kursbuch quarterly in 1965 and the TransAtlantik monthly in 1980. In the years 1985-2005 he was in charge of the bibliophile’s publishing series „Die Andere Bibliothek”, in which a new book handpicked by him appeared every month. His widely varied body of work comprises eight books of poems: Verteidigung der Wölfe (1957), Landessprache (1960), Blindenschrift (1962), Die Furie des Verschwindens (1980), Zukunftsmusik (1991), Kiosk. Neue Gedichte (1995), Leichter als Luft. Moralische Gedichte (1999) and Rebus (2009), numerous collections of essays, e.g. Einzelheiten (1962), Politische Brosamen (1982), Die Grosse Wanderung (1992) and Nomaden im Regal (2003), as well as critical texts, political writings and books with such intriguing titles as Im Irrgarten der Intelligenz. Ein Idiotenführer (2007). His writing has been translated into over forty languages.
He has been awarded some of the most prestigious prizes, including the Georg Büchner Prize (1963), the Heinrich Böll Prize (1985), the Heinrich Heine Prize (1998), the Prince of Asturia Award (2002) and the Griffin Poetry Prize (2009).
Enzensberger was the inventor and co-constructor of a verse-composing machine which was used for the football match commentary at the 2006 World Cup (see: poesieautomat.zeit.de).