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Elfriede Jelinek Edit Profile


Elfriede Jelinek is an Austrian writer. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2004.


Ethnicity: She was raised in Vienna by her Romanian-German Catholic mother and Czech Jewish father.

Elfriede Jelinek was born on October 20, 1946 in Muerzzuschlag, Styria, Austria. Daughter of Friedrich and Olga Ilona (Buchner) Jelinek.


As a child, Elfriede attended a Roman Catholic convent school in Vienna. She attended Vienna Conservatory of Music, where she graduated with an organist diploma. She also attended the University of Vienna, where she studied art history and theater, but she had to discontinue her studies due to an anxiety disorder, which resulted in self-isolation at her parents' house for a year.


She began writing poetry at a young age. She made her literary debut with Lisas Schatten (Lisa's Shadow) in 1967, and received her first literary prize in 1969. Jelinek's output has included radio plays, poetry, theatre texts, polemical essays, anthologies, novels, translations, screenplays, musical compositions, libretti and ballets, film and video art.


  • She received in 1996 Literaturpreis der Stadt Bremen for Die Kinder der Toten, in 1998 - Georg Büchner Prize, in 2002 - Mülheimer Dramatikerpreis, in 2004 - Hörspielpreis der Kriegsblinden for Jackie and Franz Kafka Prize. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2004 for her "musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that, with extraordinary linguistic zeal, reveal the absurdity of society's clichés and their subjugating power." She also received Mülheimer Dramatikerpreis in 2004. 2009, 2011.



Jelinek was a member of Austria's Communist Party from 1974 to 1991. She became a household name during the 1990s due to her vociferous clash with Jörg Haider's Freedom Party. Following the 1999 National Council elections and the subsequent formation of a coalition cabinet consisting of the Freedom Party and the Austrian People's Party, Jelinek became one of the new cabinet's most vocal critics.


Quotations: "I was 27; he was 29. I knew enough men. Sexuality was, strangely, the only area where I emancipated myself early on. Our marriage takes place in two cities. It's a kind of Tale of Two Cities in the Dickensian sense. I've always commuted between Vienna and Munich. Vienna is where I've always lived because my friends are here and because I've never wanted to leave Vienna. In the end I've been caught up here. Munich is my husband's city and so I've always traveled to and from, and that's been good for our marriage".


She is a member of Graz Writers' Association.


She married Gottfried Heinrich Hungsberg on June 12, 1974.

Friedrich Jelinek

Olga Ilona (Buchner) Jelinek

Gottfried Heinrich Hungsberg