Born in 1961 in the city of Itzehoe (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany), I come from a family of storytellers and have always been told that the bookseller Johann Philipp Palm, famous for being executed by Napoleon, lurked somewhere in the family tree. Upon leaving the Kreisgymnasium (now Sophie-Scholl-Gymnasium) in 1980, barely scraping through the Abitur, one of my long-suffering teachers declared that “this boy should be a journalist!”
Which I became, eventually – after finishing a Master’s degree in English, German and History (studying in Frankfurt, Glasgow and Stuttgart) … and then pursuing a career path on a rather winding road, that not only involved writing for local papers like the Fellbacher Zeitung or the Norddeutsche Rundschau, getting involved in several specialist magazines like Rettungsdienst, authoring four books … but also stints as emergency medical technician, soldier, janitor, firefighter, guttering installer, care assistant, IT specialist, insurance salesperson, digital print technician, teacher, truck driver, call centre operative and manager …
Living in Ireland since the late 1990s, I have since written extensively about the “Emerald Isle” – and written the book on travelling there, literally, creating a 620-page-brick in form of the “Travel Handbuch Irland” (currently in its third edition, published by the Stefan Loose Verlag).
And, not to forget, I am About.com Ireland Travel, writing news and reviews there on a very regular basis.
For my other current projects … follow this blog, and wait to be surprised (though, to be fair, it might occasionally be a long wait).
Generally speaking, I refuse to be categorized … maybe because I am quite often puzzled by grandiose titles and wordy-yet-nebulous job descriptions. Hence I am content to be called a “writer”. Or, as a fire service officer recently remarked at an incident scene, “some sort of journalist”.
When cornered, however, I might offer some more details:
I see myself as a writer first and foremost, with an open and inquisitive mind, with an ability to listen. A diligent researcher that goes well beyond “common knowledge” and a quick look at Wikipedia. A journalist in as far as I strive to report the world as it is, how I experience things, not as I would like to have it. Independent as in, yes, I like to get paid for my writing … but no, I’ll not do product placements or rent-a-positive-review. And not averse to accepting a freebie, but open in declaring that in my writing too. I see myself as a competent photographer, again with an emphasis of the record shot, as opposed to the highly glamorised image …
If you would like to have me as a contributor to one of your projects? Would you like me to write about you?