Hirschl: protest, parody and slam

In his texts, Hirschl mostly deals with current socio-critical topics in an engaging and funny way. In addition to the Austrian Armed Forces and the Catholic Church, he also deals with daily political events in the world. He not only takes up Donald Trump’s US presidential election campaign in 2016. His most recent novel “Salon able” (2021) was already considered a direct dig at the then Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz when it was published.

During his “step aside” the novel was celebrated abroad as the “Ösierklärbuch” of the hour – the German feuilleton overturned with positive advocacy. The Irish Times described the novel, which revolves around a follower of the unscrupulous Julian Vargas, who uses tactics and deception to become Chancellor, as “a brutally entertaining mixture of ‘American Psycho’ and the US drama ‘Everything About Eve'”.

Initiates of the poetry slam scene had already known Hirschl for a long time. In his slam text “Hopp auf” Hirschl deals very seriously with his personal family history around his grandfather from Upper Austria. Personal things generally find their way into his texts more often: The experiences from his civil service also characterize the book “Hundred Black Sewing Machines” (2017), which was also translated into Czech.

Jelinek, Brezina and the Internet

The approach to the concept of literature – it is playful and comprehensive with this author: even negative Amazon book reviews find their way into his poetry. Hirschl doesn’t stop at well-known Austrian literary greats either. In the text “The Castle Ghost in the Ghost Castle” he recites the fictional exchange of letters between the two neighbors Elfriede Jelinek and Thomas Brezina about the latest idea for a children’s book.

Elias Hirschl

ORF/Johannes Puch

At the Bachmann Prize in June, Hirschl won the BKS audience prize

If one thinks of his recent appearance at the Bachmann Prize, when he was lying bored on the reading table awaiting the jury’s verdict after reading his text “Staublunge”, one gets the impression that the author couldn’t shake a little water. If you take a look behind his text strategies, you have to certify that he knows all the waters. In the ORF interview, he explains that he parodied a scene from Bret Easton Ellis’ cult classic “American Psycho”, which was parodied by David Foster Wallache – around the year Hirschl was born, literary theory raised such “pastiches” to the high level of ironic art of the postmodern novel.

Write by rules

The association OULIPO (L’Ouvroir de litterature potentiale, roughly: workshop for potential literature), which has been undertaking literary experiments in which texts are created according to predefined rules since the 1960s, can easily serve as a reference for Hirschl.

shipment notice

“Archives of Writing” about Elias Hirschl will be broadcast on ORF2 as part of “kulturMontag” from 10:30 p.m. On August 2, 11:05 a.m., the Ö1 program “Radiogeschichten” will read Elias Hirschl’s Bachmann Prize text “Staublunge”.

OULIPO member George Perec wrote the novel “La Disparition” (German: “Anton Voyls Fortgang”) around 1969, which manages without a single use of the vowel “e”. Hirschl was inspired by this for the slam text “When Anna met Clara”, which only uses the vowel “a”.

However, he does not claim to reinvent German-language literature. Instead, Hirschl tries to let his creative flow run free and try things out. He also likes to use the Internet, which, as he says in the ORF interview, is a “collecting place for text surfaces that go moldy unused”.

Music and lyrics from Vienna to Taipei

Almost at the same time as his first poetry slam appearances, Hirschl also took part in the FM4 protest song contest. In 2011 he took fourth place with his band hirschl. In the following year, Hirschl also released the debut album “Alles ist okay”. After two further appearances at the FM4 song competition, Hirschl finally became a member of the jury himself in 2016. Since 2020 he has been performing together with the rapper Selbstlaut as the music duo Ein Gespenst.

His multiple talents for music and literature ultimately took Hirschl to Asia. In good time before the start of the pandemic, he and the musician Jimmy Brainless undertook a two- and one-month musical and literary journey to mostly German-speaking institutes in Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul and Taipei, among others, in 2017 and 2019.

The project “Archives of Writing”

“Archives of Writing” is a cooperation project between the ORF and the guest country project Austria at the Leipzig Book Fair 2023. TV, online and radio together present the new generation of writing in Austria. The authors talk about themselves without anyone commenting on their work from the outside. Numerous portraits of the new writing are to be created by the time of the Austrian focus at the Leipzig Book Fair in 2023 and will continue to be produced.

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