Michael Hofmann

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Michael Hofmann
Born 1957
Freiburg, West Germany
Occupation Poet, translator
Genre Criticism, poetry, translation

Michael Hofmann (born 25 August 1957 in Freiburg, West Germany) is a German-born poet who writes in English and a translator of texts from German.


Michael Hofmann is the son of the German novelist Gert Hofmann. Hofmann's family first moved to Bristol in 1961, and later to Edinburgh. He was educated at Winchester College[1] and then studied English Literature and Classics. In 1979 he received a BA and in 1984 an MA from the University of Cambridge. In 1983 he started working as a freelance writer, translator, and literary critic. Hofmann has held a visiting professorship at the University of Michigan and currently teaches poetry workshops at the University of Florida. [2] He splits his time between London and Gainesville. In 2008, Hofmann was Poet-in-Residence in the state of Queensland in Australia. He has two sons, Max (1991) and Jakob (1993).


Hofmann received the Cholmondeley Award in 1984 for Nights in the Iron Hotel[3] and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize in 1988 for Acrimony.[4] The same year, he also received the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for his translation of Patrick Süskind's Der Kontrabaß (The Double Bass).[5] In 1993 he received the Schlegel-Tieck Prize again for his translation of Wolfgang Koeppen's Death in Rome.[5]

Hofmann was awarded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 1995 for the translation of his father's novel The Film Explainer,[6] and Michael was nominated again in 2003 for his translation of Peter Stephan Jungk's The Snowflake Constant.[7] In 1997 he received the Arts Council Writer's Award for his collection of poems Approximately Nowhere,[6] and the following year he received the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for his translation of Herta Müller's novel The Land of Green Plums.[6]

In 1999 Hofmann was awarded the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize for his translation of Joseph Roth's The String of Pearls.[8] In 2000 Hofmann was selected as the recipient of the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize for his translation of Joseph Roth's novel Rebellion (Die Rebellion).[9] In 2003 he received another Schlegel-Tieck Prize for his translation of his father's Luck,[5] and in 2004 he was awarded the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize for his translation of Ernst Jünger's Storm of Steel.[10] In 2005 Hofmann received his fourth Schlegel-Tieck Prize for his translation of Gerd Ledig's The Stalin Organ.[5] Hofmann served as a judge for the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2002, and in 2006 Hofmann made the Griffin's international shortlist for his translation of Durs Grünbein's Ashes for Breakfast.[11]

Selected bibliography


File:Hofmann Anthology.jpg
Cover of
20th Century German Poetry




  1. Hofmann, Michael (7 October 1993). "Don't Blub". London Review of Books. 15 (19): 18–19. (Subscription required (help)).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Brearton, Fran (1999), "An interview with Michael Hofmann: Where is our home key anyway?", Thumbscrew (3): 30–46, ISSN 1369-5371, retrieved 2007-06-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Cholmondely Award for Poets (past winners)". The Society of Authors. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-02-10. Retrieved 2007-06-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Merrit, Moseley (2007). "The Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize". Retrieved 2007-06-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Schlegel-Tieck Prize (past winners)". The Society of Authors. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-03-10. Retrieved 2007-06-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Literary awards: Independent Foreign Fiction Prize". British Council. 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Swedish author wins Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2003". Arts Council England. 2003-04-07. Retrieved 2007-07-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Book-of-the-Month-Club Translation Prize winners". PEN American Center. 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Michael Hofmann recipient of the 2000 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize". Goethe Institute. 2000. Retrieved 2007-06-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "The Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize (previous winners)". St. Anne's College. 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry: Shortlist 2006 - Michael Hofmann". The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-07-01. Retrieved 2007-07-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links