Andreas Unterweger

English, Francais


Andreas Unterweger is a writer, musician and co-editor of the literary periodical manuskripte.
He was born in Graz, Austria, in 1978. He is married and has two daughters.

His books Grungy Nuts (2018), Das gelbe Buch (The Yellow Book, 2015), Das kostbarste aller Geschenke (The Most Precious Gift Of All – notes, 2013),  Du bist mein Meer (You Are My Sea – novella, 2011) and Wie im Siebenten (On Cloud Nr. 7 – novel, 2009) were published by Literaturverlag Droschl.
lost brains, a multimedia-based opera (music by Wim van Zutphen, lyrics by Andreas Unterweger), received its premiere in September 2009 at Brucknerhaus Linz.

He received the manuskripte Prize in 2016 and the Prize of the Academy Graz in 2009.

Andreas Unterweger has also been performing with his wife, the singer Judith Gschwantner, and with the band ratlos: their EP, „Morgen in Graz“ („Morning In Graz“), was released in 2008.
In 2012, Andreas Unterweger (lyrics) and the Vienna based songwriter Norb Payr (music) released the EP „Tankstellenmorgen“ („Morning At The Gas Station“) on Dornbach Records, Vienna.

In 2018, „Unendlichkeitsblues“, 17 poems by Ryan Adams, translated by Andreas Unterweger, were published by Edition Yara.

Sample Poems: Six poems in Statorec (USA)

Sample Prose: Wie im Siebenten/On Cloud Nr. 7. Novel (extracts)

Audio sample


Press review:

„Andreas Unterweger [is] one of the most interesting young Austrian authors […]. His artistic background underlines the versatility with which young artists set to work today. He is a guitarist and singer in the band ratlos (clueless), writes poems, has published a novel and, in his latest book Du bist mein Meer, has revived the genre of the holiday novella in an original way. A couple goes on holidays, but forgets their camera. Thus the narrator confines himself to recording the impressions of a trip to England in short prose sketches. Schooled in music and poetry, Unterweger (born in 1978) is a sensitive narrator with a flair for the unusual.“
Fabian Thomas, Goethe Institut
(Translation: Jonathan Uhlaner. Copyright: Goethe-Institut e. V., Internet-Redaktion September 2012 – see the entire article on

Andreas Unterweger´s books:

Grungy Nuts
160 pages

Remember what it felt like, being 17? Andreas Unterweger sends the reader on an adventurous journey through time full of innuendo. His 17-year-old protagonists, room-mates who have their own grunge band, personify the frenzied spirit of this decade. Unterweger follows them through dramas unfolding in disco basements, witnesses their first lovesickness and watches while a bunch of »mermaids« turns a one-bedroom apartment upside down in dizzying speed.
With his puns, grotesque whims and brilliant phrasing, Unterweger sets off a literary Rube Goldberg machine.

»A literary concept album with a visual prose-poetry that is accessible and catchy as well as it has the spirit of the teenage rebellion like the best songs of the history of rock music.« (Gerald Lind,

»This author is extremely alert, a virtual seismograph.« (Werner Krause, Kleine Zeitung)

»Unterweger wrote a humorous book that is enarmoured with language.« (Angelika Grabher-Hollenstein, APA)

Das gelbe Buch (The Yellow Book)
240 pages

One thing is certain: Nothing in the world has ever been as glorious as those summers!

In Andreas Unterweger’s universe it is the most natural thing that a group of little boys and their leader Biber live in a yellow house inmidst of yellow fields, accompanied only by the grandfather and Mia, the cat. Once in a while, a ranger turns up, telling tales of mysterious wild boars. And what does actually happen in the book? Nothing – it is just a succession of glorious summers, where one can swim the whole day in the (yellow) river, and frosty winters, featuring, if nothing else,
Santa Claus and Christmas.
It is an unthinkable pipe dream characterised by a linguistically highly precise analysis of the relationship between objects and their expressions, of the materiality of single words and the difficulties of understanding (and misunderstanding).
Here, poetic obstinacy doubles as a child’s utopia, regardless of the »purpose of literature«. It is, to some extent, an adaptation of Wittgenstein for children, including highbrow and lowbrow jokes, pictures, mathematical exercises, a choice of several mottoes and above all, two tables of content in which chapters are called »The five seasons« or »Master of disguise – identity and difference in the yellow country« respectively.

Das kostbarste aller Geschenke (The Most Precious Gift Of All)
Notes, 184 pages

Extra-ordinary miniature stories about the ordinary process of becoming a father.

The most precious gift of all is one of those books men write after becoming (mostly for the first time) a father to a child (mostly a daughter). These are notes about everyday life, about experiencing reality anew with children. According to Philip K. Dick, this is »the most precious gift of all: reality«!

The text is written in a strict, mathematical form which accommodates all the themes and motives of the author and young father: language, writing, first words (and deeds), getting older and getting bigger, friendship, book fairs, readings, and the complicated circumstances of patchwork families. With relentless honesty, he notes gains and losses of this new situation, as well as the shifted loyalties and challenges, and finishes the book with the two chapters »Book of Discourage« and »Book of Courage«.

»He is still the same as the one he had become practically overnight, then, at the age of 17, he thinks.« An impressive, linguistically and psychologically precise account of a very banal situation – which, caught by Andreas Unterweger’s intelligent, original and funny eye, turns into a joyful and entertaining read!

Du bist mein Meer (You Are My Sea)
Novella (in 3×77 pictures), 240 pages

Unconventional and light-footed, and yet concise and enigmatic: this is another way of writing about love these days!

In Andreas Unterweger’s “charming and virtuoso debut” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) On Cloud Nr. 7, first-person narrator Andreas writes, “At nights, we would dream about the sea, and in the mornings we would then wake up to actually find shells in the flower boxes on the window sill.”

In this second book of his, the sea plays a central part: HE and SHE, a couple justifiably reminiscent of the one in In the Seventh, spends a week in a little Scottish village by the seaside – but HE forgot to bring his camera and therefore resorts to taking pictures with sentences. He thus creates a “photo album” with haiku-like, striking pictures, as well as “a novella (in 3×77 pictures)”. But what about the outrageous event a novella by definition requires?

Well, what could be more outrageous than the emergence of life, the birth of a baby? The narrator’s wife is pregnant – while the father-to-be, with the best of intentions, is understandably nervous.

However, this is not a book on pregnancy or the weather in Scotland – no, You Are My Sea is as much a book on literature as is it a book on life itself.

With incredible lightness, Andreas Unterweger faces “the dilemma of the second book”. Phrase by phrase, picture by picture, You Are My Sea creates a thick tangle of motives in prose; charming, witty, tender, clever and full of this special poetic power that is out of the ordinary. Not only is the book’s outer appearance unique, but also the entire literary universe of this writer: feathery light, unsentimental, yet heart-warming.

Wie im Siebenten. Roman/On Cloud Nr. 7. Novel, 144 pages

What bliss it is when situations and circumstances are simple, when all beginnings are easy. When love comes as easily as art, when writing novels is like having a cup of coffee and only playing the guitar is a bit rough – then this is easy living!

Obviously, Andreas and Judith not only live in the seventh district of Vienna but also are in seventh heaven. Love gets off to a good start, just as the writing does. Unterweger’s novel On Cloud Nr. 7 is as easy as it is serious, dealing with how important beginnings are and how powerful dreams ought to be in order to compete with reality (the real reality!).

On Cloud Nr. 7 is an endearing and charming book about living and writing, about hopes and worries, about the differences between a song and a novel. Combining the stubborn gentleness of a Richard Brautigan with the laid-back irony of postmodernism, Andreas Unterweger’s ingenious debut has everything a debut could ask for.


ANDREAS UNTERWEGER est né à Graz (Autriche), en 1978, et vit à proximité, à Leibnitz. Écrivain, poète et parolier, il est le co-éditeur de la légendaire revue manuskripte fondée par Alfred Kolleritsch Ses ouvrages sont publiés chez Droschl. Il a publié un roman, Wie im Siebenten (Comme dans le septième, 2009), Du bist mein Meer (Tu es ma mer, 2011), un carnet de notes sur la paternité entre le 10 mai 2010 et le 9 juillet 2012, Das kostbarste aller Geschenke (Le plus  précieux de tous les cadeaux, 2013), Das gelbe Buch (Le Livre jaune, 2015, à paraître en français fin 2018 aux Editions LansKine, trad. L. Cassagnau), Grungy Nuts (2018). Il a reçu le Prix manuskripte en 2016 et en 2009 le Prix de l’Académie de Graz.

A lire: „Don Juans“, traduit par Guillaume Métayer, Po&Sie 162, 2018.

„[Andreas Unterweger] parvient comme aucun autre auteur à mêler avec profondeur et simplicité la littérature et la vie.“
(Christoph Hartner, Kronen Zeitung)

„Andreas Unterweger is one of the most interesting young Austrian authors“
(Fabian Thomas, Goethe Institut)

„Andreas Unterweger écrit de la prose enchanteresse qui n’est jamais superficielle malgré sa légèreté.“
(Alfred Kolleritsch, manuskripte)

Si des liens ne marchent pas, cliquez sur cette phrase et essayez encore une fois s.v.p. – merci beaucoup!

Andreas Unterweger: Du bist mein Meer (Tu es ma mer) 2011
Nouvelle, 240 pages:

Promenade, digressions et photos tout en poésie

par Emilie Syssau
(dans: „Livres allemands-lis …“ 3/2011, „AUTEURS À DECOUVRIR“,
Bureau de liaison littéraire, Goethe-Institut Bordeaux)

Le narrateur et sa femme, enceinte, passent six jours dans une location sur une île écossaise – leurs dernières vacances « seuls ». Comme il a perdu son appareil-photos, il décide de dessiner, mais ne parvient pas à saisir la mer. Il se lance alors dans des « photos écrites », d’abord délimitées par les bois des fenêtres, le cadre de la porte, elles finissent par accueillir l’horizon vaste et insaisissable de la mer. Le regard parfois déformé par des lentilles récalcitrantes, il décrit ce qu’il découvre dans son lieu de vacances, le long des chemins côtiers ou dans le village voisin, mouettes, phare, moulin à vent, port, criée, le tout mouillé des embruns écossais – autant de petites miniatures (le narrateur évoque lui-même les « snap shots » de Rolf Dieter Brinkmann) qui remplacent les cartes postales qu’il ne parvient pas à écrire.
Il conserve cependant le réflexe de recourir à l’appareil-photos, et se sert de son téléphone portable, à la mémoire toutefois réduite, avant de chercher dans la bourgade voisine une boutique où il pourrait acheter un appareil jetable – mais après l’avoir enfin trouvé, il s’en débarrasse au bout de quelques clichés.
« Du bist mein Meer » est tout à la fois un livre sur la littérature et un livre sur la vie. Dans un style poétique mêlant petits tableaux impressionnistes, épigrammes ou aphorismes, Unterweger nous invite à un autre regard. Il émaille ses photos de réflexions sur l’écriture (le narrateur est écrivain), de parenthèses sur son enfance et son rapport au dessin et à la géométrie, sur sa femme, déjà mère d’un enfant. Par petites touches, il réalise ainsi un récit simple, dépouillé mais sensible, un voyage en 231 clichés, expression de la tendresse du narrateur pour l’environnement qu’il découvre et pour sa femme, « sa mer », dont il sent battre les vagues lorsqu’il pose le soir la main sur son ventre arrondi.

COUP DE CŒUR : Promenade, digressions et photos tout en poésie.

LA CRITIQUE : « [Andreas Unterweger] parvient comme aucun autre auteur à mêler avec profondeur et simplicité la littérature et la vie. »
(Christoph Hartner, Kronen Zeitung)

« L’auteur recourt à trois approches narratives. Trois perspectives différentes sur le même séjour dans une maison de la côte écossaise. Trois fois soixante-dix-sept images de la mer derrière lesquelles on croit entendre le mugissement des vagues. […] Ses polaroïds magiques, seulement quelques phrases par page, sont d’une poésie simple. Quand on les
feuillette, ils forment un « film en paroles » – une séquence de trois courts-métrages « à la recherche de la mer perdue ». Le regard d’Unterweger est celui d’un rêveur émerveillé, ses 231 photos de la mer présentent la magie simple d’un dessin d’enfant. […] La nouvelle d’Andreas Unterweger est une méditation marine philosophico-littéraire réussie, à l’ironie laconique.»
(Michaela Schmitz, Literaturhaus Wien)

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Eine Antwort

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  1. The Yellow Book | Andreas Unterweger said, on 29. September 2015 at 11:18 am

    […] Andreas Unterweger´s biography and samples. […]

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