Bestselling author Sabine Ebert
As tens of thousands of people make the annual pilgrimage to the Leipzig Book Fair, many will be coming to Leipzig simply because she will be there. Saxony-based writer Sabine Ebert is one of the most successful authors on the German literary scene. Since 2006, her novels have brought Saxony’s history alive, embedded in a European context, and her books regularly top the bestseller lists, often for months. The journalist grew up in Berlin but has lived in Saxony for over 25 years, first in the silver mining town of Freiberg and for the past two and a half years in Leipzig. She moved there specifically to write her epic anti-war novel entitled 1813 – Flames of War (“1813 – Kriegsfeuer”), which deals with the fateful year 1813 and the Battle of the Nations, fought near Leipzig. Ebert says it was important for her to really get under the skin of the city while researching the book. Such incredibly painstaking research is her trademark, along with the ability to retell history as close to historical fact as is possible within the constraints of a novel. Ebert is currently working hard on the follow-up to Flames of War but still found time for a short interview ahead of the start of the Leipzig Book Fair.
Ms Ebert, what do you think is particularly typical of Saxony?
Saxony has an incredibly fascinating history that engages people far beyond its regional borders. A tremendous amount of German and European cultural heritage originated here, and many inventions and innovative technologies come from Saxony.
The region may have been plagued by terrible wars and other catastrophes time and again, but its inhabitants have always bounced back. They’ve rolled up their sleeves and rebuilt their homeland with energy and inventiveness, adding further to its beauty.
What do you like most of all about the region and its people?
The strong affinity that many people here have with their history and traditions. Their industriousness, creative energy and resourcefulness. The magnificent cultural heritage and beauty of the landscape. And, last but not least, I love the delicious cakes they make here.
What’s your favourite place in Saxony?
There are so many beautiful castles and palaces, historic marketplaces, unique landscapes… but personally my favourite places are Leipzig, which has quickly become my new home, and Meissen, the cradle of Saxony with its unique atmosphere.
Is there any historical figure from Saxony that you feel particularly close to?
Rather than naming just one person among many, I’d ask you to check out all the famous artists, inventors and scientists who came from Saxony or worked here – you’d be amazed!
When will the follow-up to 1813 – Flames of War appear and can you tell us whether we’ll be meeting Henriette again?
In spring 2015. Readers will be reunited with many familiar figures from the first volume – including Henriette, of course.