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Frank Göhre

Frank Göhre

Writer + journalist

Frank Göhre

Frank Göhre

Frank Göhre, born in 1943, is a German author, best known for his crime novels and television scripts. He has worked as bookseller, librarian, playwright for radio and in the publishing industry. Today he lives in Hamburg, where besides writing novels he authored the screenplays for the movies »Abwärts«, »Die Ratte« and »St. Pauli Nacht« (directed by Sönke Wortmann), for which his script was honored with the Deutsche Drehbuchpreis.

»Increase the anger in the world to a hundredweight, to a grain.«

Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Anweisung an Sisyphos

Office FG

Where do you live today?

In the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, the gateway to the world.

Have you always lived in Hamburg?

No. I was born in Czechia, grew up Bochum, lived and worked in Cologne, Munich and in Neuenkirchen near Soltau, in the Lueneburg Heath.

What do you do for a living?

Since 1981 I’m a screenwriter and books author, and I also do stuff for radio. Before that I worked as office clerk, bookseller, librarian, employee in a publishing company and copywriter.

Do you have any hobbies?

Yes. Cooking..

And your favorite dish is …?

Pappardelle with meat dumplings and porcini.

What was the last book you remember reading?

»2666« by Roberto Bolaño.

How about the last movie?

Oh, »Beloved Sisters«, directed by Dominik Graf.

The last time you’ve heard music it was …?

“Cadillac Walk” by Willy DeVille, because I’ve used the lyrics in my latest novel – still in the works.

Your last accomplishment has been what?

Completed is a text mashup on the movies „Supermarket“ (Roland Klick), „North Sea is Dead Sea“(Hark Bohm) and „Desperado City“ (Vadim Glowna). It’s titled: »Der Reichtum, die Härte und die Weite.«
In the works right now is a new novel – which probably will be my last: »Night Song«.

Which historical character do you admire most – and why?

Herodot and Alexander von Humboldt because of their travels, research and writing about both.

Which reform has been a real advancement?

The abolition of paragraph 175 German Criminal Code (homosexuality as statutory offense).

Who is your hero in everyday life?

Working single mothers.

Do you have any favorites? No matter what …?

An English breakfast.

And your favourite quote is?

»Steh auf, wenn Du ein Schalker bist!« Meaning: Stand up when you’re a fan of Schalke 04, one of Germany’s prime soccer clubs.

There has been a first time for what you’re doing today.
So, what brought you to this point in life?

As it often happens: love was the reason. She has been my first great love, and we even had sex.
On Rose Monday she went to bed with some other guy.
We are history, she said the following day. And I sat down and wrote my first story titled “Off he goes.” The story of a young man who runs lovesick in fornt of a car and subsequently dies.
That was 1967 and at that time I was already 24. Anyway, it marked the beginning of a writing career.

And what happened after this first time?

This first story was broadcasted in German radio. I was introduced as a “writer from the streets”, a little later they called me a “pop poet”.
It was how I got started with public radio. I wrote more stories, radio plays and even a feature show for some of the main German radio stations. I made so much money that in 1973 I really could live as an independent author. Moreover, I was able to buy me a bright yellow Fiat Spider and could afford an extensive six-weeks long trip to Danmark, Sweden and Finland.

What means “passion” for you?

To be real fired up and do everything for something that satisfies me. I mean, to live full of passion, even wild and outside of social patterns and rules, and to write. For all I’m worth.

Your thoughts about mastery and failure?

Radio, writing radio plays and working with narrators taught me to write dialogue. Workin as a playwright honed my skills of scenic thinking. For me writing is a craft that has to be learned and mastered.
Failure is something that I see rather in my private life. Not to be a good partner for my wife, not ot have enough time for family and friends, to fail communicatively.
For me failure means also not being able to manage and deal my workload; when I’m sranding in this respect I see it as an experience which marks a fresh new start.

Fears are …?

After two extraordinary experiences I am nearly free from fear:
Once I fell down a rock crevice, 220 yards above the ocean on the island of Lanzarote. It took me long hours of tedious clinming to free myself out of this predicament.
Then there was this cardiac surgery in the last nick of time.

Since then: come hell or high water … I’m not frightened anymore. That’s over.
There’s nothing I have to lose, and the last curtain is inescapable.

Has there been a point when you had any regrets?

Okay, looking back now I regret not going to America when I was, like, nineteen or twenty. I had this dream of working on a ranch, to be a farmer.
If you will — me, the Marlboro Man …

Money is important … or not?

Money enables me to pursue my passions. Travel often, eat good food, drink good wine and enjoy fine whiskey. Therefore: yes, money is somewhat important. But I’m perfectly able to limit myself, to rein myself in when I’m short of funds.

Tell us a bit about inspiration and creativity.

Everyday life gives me all the inspiration I need: a casual remark of a neighbor, some situation in a bank or on a construction site, an overheard dialogue, a fight, some sinister fate in my circle of friends and acquaintances, a short newspaper piece, a modern jazz song, some piece of music by Miles Davis — some of this can trigger me working.
Writing a book is 80 perent sitting on one’s arse, as good old Pit says — Peter O. Chotjewitz.

What does a typical day in your life look like?

I get up at seven in the morning, have breakfast with my wife, go to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, after that it’s writing until two pm. Than a one hour break. Cup of coffee, the papers. A short walk. Til 6.30 pm it’s note taking and Internet research. Then it’s time to coo a dinner. We eat at home or dine out, meet with friends, cinema, theatre, music …

How important are media like newspapers, tv, the internet for your creative process?

Print media and Internet became indispensable. They are the the nucleus for my very own creative process.

If you had to pick a favorite writer – who would it be? … And tell us why?

There’s not one favorite author. I admire lots and do learn fro many: From Hemingway to DeLillo (Americans), Flaubert to Genet (French), Gadda and Pasolini (Italians), Kleist, Fontane, Döblin and Hubert Fichte, Cendrars and Glauser … quite a mixed bag but each of them offers something for me which is of use for my own works: a point of view, a facet, something touching or moving.

Has music a special relevance for your work?

Music as well as movies molded my character.

With music it’s modern jazz, the improvisation, the rhythm. Often I write inspired by music, not with the music, there are sounds and tunes in my ears and my mind.

The art of editing is what influences me most when it comes to movies. I find editing very very fascinating, and I believe that I would have been a fairly good editor if my life had led me in another direction. Editing also is about having a sense of rhythm.

Please give us a list of your ten favorite songs?
No matter what genre …

My favorites are, listened over and over again, in alphabetic order:
AC/DC (live, World Tour 1978), Bad Boy Boogie
Eric Burdon declares WAR, Tobacco Road
Jonny Cash, The Beast In Me
Cream (Farewell Tour 1968), Toad
Mink DeVille, Cadillac Walk
Deep Purple (Osaka, August 1972), Smoke On The Water
Bob Dylan, Rollin’ And Tumblin’
Bob Marley, I Shot The Sheriff
The Rolling Stones (live auf Love You Live) Sympathy For The Devil
Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Walk Like A Giant

Do you like TV series? And if so, which?

Nowadays I’m looking almost exclusively TV series on DVD:
„Homicide“ and „The Wire“, „NYPD Blue“, before that „Miami Vice“, „Sopranos“ and – o yeah, „24“, too, „Breaking Bad“, „Sons of Anarchy“, „Mad Men“ and and and …
In short, the remedy for the plague: German TV regulated by public law.

Is social commitment important for you?

Yeas, as a demonstration of opposition and resistance.

Are you happy?

A unconditional: YES!

Is there any advice you could share with someone who wants to become an artist?

Gain your own experiences and try to convey them as authentic as possible. And: Don’t be the schoolmasterly type when doing so!

Is there something in the way of a legacy you hope to leave behind?

The desire and will to resist people who abuse power and those who are nothing more than hangers-on.

  • Costa Brava im Revier, Recklinghausen 1971
  • Gekündigt, Starnberg 1974
  • So läuft das nicht, München 1976
  • Wenn Atze kommt, Leverkusen 1976
  • Schnelles Geld, München 1979
  • Außen vor, München 1982
  • Im Palast der Träume, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1983
  • Abwärts, München 1984 (zusammen mit Carl Schenkel)
  • Der Schrei des Schmetterlings, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1986
  • Zeitgenosse Glauser, Zürich 1988
  • Einzelhaft, Hamburg 1988
  • Peter Strohm – Agent für Sonderfälle, München 1989
  • Tiefe Spuren, München 1989 (zusammen mit Astrid Schumacher und Bert Schumacher)
  • Der Tod des Samurai, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1989
  • Letzte Station vor Einbruch der Dunkelheit, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1990
  • Frühstück mit Marlowe, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1991
  • Der Tanz des Skorpions, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1991
  • St.-Pauli-Nacht, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1993
  • Ritterspiele, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1996
  • Rentner in Rot, Hamburg 1998
  • Finale am Rothenbaum, Augsburg 1999
  • Grüne Hölle Hagenbeck, Hamburg 1999
  • Goldene Meile, Hamburg 2000
  • Endstation Reinbek, Hamburg 2001
  • Hauptbahnhof Mord, Hamburg 2002
  • Die toten Augen vom Elbstrand, Hamburg 2003
  • Der letzte Freier, Hamburg 2006
  • Zappas letzter Hit, Bielefeld 2006
  • An einem heißen Sommertag, Bielefeld 2008
  • Mo, Bielefeld 2008
  • Der Auserwählte, Pendragon, Bielefeld 2010
  • Geile Meile, Sammelband (Zappas letzter Hit, St. Pauli Nacht, Rentner in Rot, Der letzte Freier und Es war einmal St. Pauli), Pendragon, Bielefeld 2013
  • Hot stuff, CulturBooks, Hamburg 2013
  • Du fährst nach Hamburg, ich schwörs dir. CulturBooks, Hamburg 2014
  • Gut leben – früh sterben, Pendragon, Bielefeld 2014
  • Mo. Der Lebensroman des Friedrich Glauser, CulturBooks, Hamburg, 2015

Die Liste der Filme, bei denen Frank Göhre das Buch geschrieben hat, ist recht stattlich, daher  hier nur eine Auswahl:

SCHNELLES GELD
Spielfilm, 1983 | Buch und Regie: Raimund Koplin und Renate Stegmüller nach dem Roman von Frank Göhre
ABWÄRTS
Spielfilm, 1984 | Buch: Frank Göhre und Carl Schenkel, Regie: Carl Schenkel
EINZELHAFT
Fernsehfilm (Schimanski-Tatort), 1988 | Buch: Frank Göhre, Regie: Theodor Kotulla
SCHAMLOS
(»Eine Hardcore-Version der ›Lindenstraße‹«, Hamburger Morgenpost) Soap-Opera, 1990-1999 | 10 Fernseh-Folgen | Buch: Frank Göhre, Ulrich Waller und Matthias Beltz, Regie: Ulrich Waller
DIE RATTE
Spielfilm, 1993 | Buch: Frank Göhre und Klaus Lemke, Regie: Klaus Lemke
ST. PAULI NACHT
Spielfilm, 1999 Buch: Frank Göhre. Regie: Sönke Wortmann
EINE NACHT IM GRANDHOTEL
Fernsehfilm, 2008 | Buch: Sathyan Ramesh, nach einer Story von Frank Göhre

Weiterhin mehrere Tatorte, Folgen der Serien “Alarm für Cobra 111”, “Großstadtrevier” und viele mehr.

There’s a homepage for Frank Göhre, and also you’ll find some data on Wikipedia (German only).

Today his works are published by Pendragon in Bielefeld (print and eBook) and also by CulturBooks (eBook only).

Villa Hamburg
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