German writer to introduce book about bipolar disorder

“Die Welt im Rücken” (The World in the Back), an autobiographical work with tragic and bizarre stories by German writer Thomas Melle, will be introduced to Vietnamese readers through two book presentations.

German writer to introduce book about bipolar disorder

An event in Hanoi will take place at the Goethe Institut in Ba Dinh District on May 11, starting at 6 p.m., while another event in HCMC will be held at Saturday Café in District 3 on May 24, starting at 7 p.m. Both events offer free admission.

In “The World in the Back”, Melle tells his own life with bipolar disorder, formally called manic depression. The book provides an insight into the life of a person who can never be sure of his own personality and cannot rely on anything he has trusted.

Melle suffers from bipolar disorder, a mental health condition in which high altitudes and deep depressive episodes are close to each other.


In his novel, Melle seeks origins and causes of his illness but he is not able to grasp them completely. Melle does not spare or embellish but highlights the radical levels of his bipolar disorder, and his sober descriptions give readers an immediate insight into the author’s life.

The translation of “The World in the Back” was part of a social translating project, during which translators from Asia met online with the author to exchange ideas and clarify details in the book.

Le Quang translated the novel into Vietnamese. He is also the translator of Bernhard Schlink’s “Der Vorleser”, Daniel Kehlmann’s “Die Vermessung der Welt”, and Daniel Glattauer’s “Gut gegen Nordwind”.

Thomas Melle was born in Bonn, Germany in 1975 and is currently moving between Berlin and Vienna. He studied comparative literature and philosophy in Tubingen and Berlin while translating and writing plays. His debut novel “Sickster” won the Franz Hessel Prize in 2011 while the novel “3000 Euro” earned Melle the Berlin Art Prize in 2015. For “The World in the Back”, he was awarded the Klopstock Prize. SGT

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