- Renate WelshAuthor–Austria
Click for larger view
View full resolution
Renate Welsh was born in Vienna on December 22, 1937. More than once, the author has described her childhood as having been an unhappy one—a fact she attributes to the early death of loved ones (her mother and her grandfather), the resulting vague feelings of guilt, and living through the Second World War. Early in her life, Welsh started to process her experiences by writing and inventing stories. At the age of fifteen, she was awarded a scholarship and went to Portland, Oregon, as an exchange student for one year. In 1955, she started to study English, Spanish, and political sciences; however, after her marriage in 1956, she broke off her university studies in order to work for the British Council in Vienna. Initially, she worked there part-time, and as of 1962 she started to work as a freelance translator. She began to write after she had had to stay at a hospital for an extended period in the year of 1968. This long phase of forced contemplation triggered her first book, Der Enkel des Löwenjägers (The Lion Hunter's Grandson), which was on the Roll of Honour on the occasion of the 1970 Austrian State Award. Since 1975, Renate Welsh has worked as a freelance writer.
In her comprehensive and versatile overall work, Welsh has written about the current tendencies of change in modern childhood and youth in an exemplary and socially committed way. In addition to the author's narrating style—which is masterly, formally sophisticated, and often innovative—the contents are what make her books relevant. Welsh focuses on children's social reality, therefore enabling them to cope with their own lives. Family crises and social injustice, illnesses, social exclusion, violence at home and at school, isolation, and identity conflicts are depicted with remarkable honesty. Her books are highly ethical while making do without any preaching qualities.
The children's and teen books by Renate Welsh have enjoyed undivided recognition within all German-speaking countries and beyond. The writer has received the Austrian Children's and Juvenile Book Award many times over; she has received the German Youth Literature Award for Johanna in 1980—an award only few Austrian books have received; and in 1992, she was awarded the Austrian Recognition Award for Children's and Juvenile literature was finalist for the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award.
Most of her books have been published in several editions, and many were translated into numerous foreign languages. This has made Renate Welsh, who has worked as a writer and developed her art for more than four decades, one of the most renowned writers of contemporary German literature for children and teens. [End Page 10]