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Wolfgang Herrndorf

Wolfgang Herrndorf is one of the greatest German writers.

If I am asked to name the biggest German authors my first answer would definitely be Goethe and Schiller or Guenther Grass and Thomas Mann because they are the big names you hear when there is a conversation about German literature. But to be honest all I know about these authors is that they are great German authors. From all of what their works I just read one book in school because it was mandatory.

So I searched on the internet for famous German authors and found out that the most of them are strangers to me and from the generation of my great-grandparents or older. For that reason, I decided to write about an author who was still alive as I was born and of whose books I am familiar with. So I choose Wolfgang Herrndorf.

Wolfgang Herrndorf is not going to appear when you search on google for German writers but as soon as you add “21st century” or “modern” there is no way to not find him in the results. The reason is based on the rich history of German literature. We have so many old famous authors that more recent writers have almost no chance to reach their glory, at least when they are still young and modern. And so was the art student Herrndorf, who worked as an illustrator until he focused on writing.

His first book “In Plüschgewittern” was released in 2002 but the big success came with the novel “Tschick” in 2010 in which Herrndorf pictures the story of teenagers on an unconventional road trip. The book was nominated for the renowned book prize of the “Leipziger Buchmesse” and has aspects of many genres but mostly it is classified as a bildungsroman. With his next book “Sand” (2012) he did not only win this prize but was also on the shortlist of the German book prize. “Sand” contains parts of the genres of thriller, historical novel and social novel although Herrndorf used to classify his book as belonging to the “Genre of the moron”.

But why am I writing about the author in the past tense when he was born in 1965 and thus should have the same age as my mum? The reason is in the tragedy of Herrndorf’s disease, a malignant brain tumor which was found in February 2010. This led the perfectionist to speed up his work immensely and he started his digital diary “Arbeit und Struktur”(work and structure) which was released posthumously after Herrndorf shot himself at the 26th of August 2013 which was, according to some of his friends, one of the last days where he still was able to do it. In 2014 the unfinished succession novel of “Tschick”, “Bilder deiner großen Liebe” was published and 2015 played as a theatre in the “Staatsschauspiel Dresden”. In all of his books the style of writing was always very important for Herrndorf. His motto while writing was “First sound and form, then content” (Herrndorf in “Arbeit und Struktur”).

For me, Wolfgang Herrndorf is one of the greatest German writers not only because of his works but also because of his attitude towards life.

Short bio of the volunteer:

Julius Sax, a volunteer from Germany with interest in basketball, tennis, scouts, playing guitar, read and meet friends.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3, which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.