Fred Viebahn

Fred Viebahn, born in 1947 in Gummersbach (Rhineland/Germany), attended school and university in Cologne and later lived as a writer and journalist in the Ruhr district and in West Berlin. He published his first book, a novella, at the age of nineteen, followed by a book of short stories and a book of poems, both in 1968. His first novel, Die schwarzen Tauben, won him the German Book-of-the-Month award in November 1969. His other novels are Das Haus Che (1973), Larissa (1976), and Die Fesseln der Freiheit (1979); a revised American version of the latter was published as The Stain by Story Line Press in 1988. Several of Mr. Viebahn’s plays were produced on stage and for German radio. In 1973 he received the literary prize for young writers of the City of Cologne; he was also honored with Germany’s most respected fellowship in literature and the arts, the Villa Massimo residency at the German Academy in Rome, and awarded grants from the city of West Berlin, the State of Northrhine-Westphalia and the West German Foreign Ministry. From 1974-76 he served on the board of directors of the German Writers Association (Verband deutscher Schriftsteller). He was also politically active in the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and elected to several boards. In the fall of 1976 Mr. Viebahn came to the United States as a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, where he met his future wife, Rita Dove, then a graduate student in the Iowa Writers Workshop. He was writer-in-residence in the University of Texas at Austin’s German department in 1977; subsequently he taught German literature at Oberlin College for two years. After literary fellowships at Mishkenot Sha’ananim in Jerusalem, Israel and at Universität Bielefeld’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Germany, Mr. Viebahn spent eight years in Tempe, Arizona as a free-lance writer and journalist and as adjunct professor at Arizona State University. Since 1989 he, his wife and their daughter Aviva (born in 1983) have been living in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he is Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Virginia. He is working on several literary projects.

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