Michael Ende (1929 - 1995) German author, famous mainly for his children's books.

Michael Ende was born on 12 October, 1929 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany). When he was 2 years old his family moved to München. In 1936 his father Edgar Ende, a surrealist painter, was forbidden to work by the Third Reich. Despite this Edgar Ende continued to paint.

Michael attended the gymnasium in Schwabing. Later he moved to Stuttgart where he finished school in a Rudolf Steiner Waldorfschule. The meeting with Rudolf Steiner influenced his life. In 1945, at the age of sixteen, he was drafted into the Army but he deserted before he even arrived. Luckily the end of World War II was close.

After the war he went to drama school in München. He suffered a deep crisis when studying Bertolt Brecht, whose ideas about theatre and life he didn't share.

To earn a living he wrote texts for the cabaret, worked as a film critic for the Bayerischen Rundfunk (German radio station), did some acting jobs in the provinces and worked as a director at the Volkstheater München. His true love though, was literature.

In Palermo something happened that changed a lot for Ende. On the market-square he met a storyteller. Fascinated by his rich variety of stories Ende talked to him and learnt that he only owned one book by Alexandre Dumas, which he had inherited from his grandfather. By adding things, by variation and by using his imagination he now told and retold the same story. Ende decided that he also wanted to be able to do this.

In 1960 at the age of 31 his first novel "Jim Knopf und der Lokomotivführer" was published. Before it was printed by Thienemann, it was rejected by ten other publishers. "Jim Knopf und der Lokomotivführer" was made into two books: "Jim Knopf und der Lokomotivführer" and "Jim Knopf und die Wilde 13". In 1961 he won the German Youth-literature prize (Deutscher Jugendliteratur Preis) for the first volume.

With success came financial independence. In 1970 he and his wife Ingeborg Hoffmann moved to Genzano, which lies south of Rome, Italy. He disliked publicity, rarely gave any interviews or TV-appearances. In 1972 his novel "Momo" was published. He became world-famous for the " Unendliche Geschichte" ("The Neverending Story") (1979), which won several prizes and was turned into a movie. Even though he agreed to having the movie made by Wolfgang Peterson he was very disappointed by the outcome. He called it a "Gigantisches Melodram aus Kitsch, Kommerz, Plüsch und Plastik." ("gigantic melodrama with kitsch, commerce, plush and plastic.")

After his wife's death in 1985 he returned to München. In 1989 he married Mariko Sato, who had translated his books into Japanese.

He died on 28 August, 1995 in Stuttgart after a long struggle with cancer.

His books have been translated into almost 40 languages and have a world edition of almost 20 million. For his literary work he received many prizes and awards.

List of books (incomplete):

  • http://www.michael-ende-gymnasium.de/treffpunkt/michael-ende/start.htm
  • http://www.stuttgart.de/chilias/literatur/aut_e-h/ende_micha
  • http://www.thienemann.de/autoren/ende_1.htm
  • http://www.amazon.de

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