Sarah Kirsch was born Ingrid Bernstein in Limlingerode, Southern Saxony in 1935. She studied literature at the Johannes R. Becher Institute for Literature in Leipzig, gaining prominence in the 1960s as one of a group of young poets in the German Democratic Republic who challenged the official ideology that literature should primarily reflect the values and achievements of socialist society.
From the early 1980s until her death in 2013, she lived, wrote and painted in an old school house in rural Schleswig-Holstein – a landscape that is integral to much of her writing.
Although her prolific output encompasses translation, prose, memoir and children’s writing, her literary reputation has primarily been established through her poetry. Kirsch has been honoured with numerous literary awards, including the Heinrich Heine Prize in 1973, the Petrarca Prize in 1976, the Friedrich Hölderlin Prize in 1984, the Peter-Huchel Prize in 1993, the Georg Büchner Prize in 1996, and the Annette von Droste-Hülshoff prize in 1997. (2022)