Stefanie Zweig

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Stefanie Zweig
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Stefanie Zweig (19 September 1932 – 25 April 2014) was a German-Jewish writer. She is best known for her autobiographical novel, Nirgendwo in Afrika (Nowhere in Africa, 1998), which was based on her early life in Kenya. The film adaptation of the novel (2002) won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


Zweig was born in Leobschütz (now Głubczyce, Poland). Her family, being Jewish, fled Nazi Germany, for Africa. They went from an urban life in Breslau (now Wrocław) to a farm in Kenya in 1938 when she was five. She attended an English boarding school while there. In 1941, the family received a postcard from her grandmother saying "We are very excited, we are going to Poland tomorrow", which implied Auschwitz. Zweig has returned to Kenya twice since leaving in 1947 at the age of 15. She found the farm had been destroyed.

Her teenage years in Germany were recounted in the autobiographical novel Irgendwo in Deutschland (Somewhere in Germany). Upon the family's return, her father became a judge in post-World War II West Germany, partly because there was no need to "denazify" him.

Her first African novel was Ein Mund voll Erde (A Mouth Full of Earth) in 1980. It won several awards, and describes an infatuation with a Kĩkũyũ boy.

She had a long career as an arts editor on a Frankfurt tabloid, Abendpost Nachtausgabe. In later life, she began writing children's literature and then began her novels. Although she is a best-selling author in German, she is not well known in the English-speaking world, except for Nowhere in Africa.

Zweig died on the 25th of April after a short illness.



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