KEVIN KUHN : CV 1/3 Kevin Kuhn was born in Göttingen - Cargo

Kevin Kuhn was born in Göttingen 1981 and currently lives in Berlin. He studied Philosophy, Art
History and Religious Studies at the University of Tübingen, and Creative Writing and
Journalism at the University of Hildesheim. In 2012 his debut novel Hikikomori was published.
He lectures in creative writing at the Institut für Literarisches Schreiben &
Literaturwissenschaft at the University of Hildesheim. Residencies include the Villa Decius in
Poland (2013) and the Gargonza Arts Award in Italy (2012).
Publications (Selection)
Hikikomori, Berlin Verlag (2012)
Sample translation available here:
Short Stories :
Ohne Exciter, ohne Distortion, Auf und Davon, Berlin Verlag (2013) and Landpartie
ZwanzigZehn, Edition Pæchterhaus (2010)
Digital Entity, elevatorcopy (2012) (german and english)
Die Fähre, ]trash[pool (2011)
Hikikomori (Auszug), BELLA triste (2010)
Susanne Mangold, DUM (2009)
Und keine Gladiolen, entwürfe (2009)
Essays :
Das Können weicht dem Fleisch, Tim Plamper, Kevin Kuhn & Nell May, Egbert Baqué
Contemporary Art (2014) (german and english)
Schreiben. Oder: Von der liberalen Ironikerin, Allmende – Zeitschrift für
Literatur (2013)
Escape. Oder: Vom neuen Leben, Revue – Magazine for the Next Society
(2013, April)
Mind On Fire, Markus Keibel, Artary Galerie (2012)
The Link, Ulrike Buck, Artary Galerie (2012)
The Marble Trail, Selket Chlupka, Egbert Baqué Contemporary Art Berlin (2012)
Geometric Constellations, Karima Klasen, Artary Galerie (2011)
Facebook. Oder: Vom Forum fensterloser Monaden, Statusmeldungen. Schreiben in
Facebook, Blumenkamp Verlag (2010)
Gregor Hikikomori, Alberto Zamora Ruiz, Painting The Midland Of Expression
(Deutschland, Korea, China, Japan, 2009)
Awards (Auswahl)
Aufenthaltsstipendium in der Villa Decius, Krakau, Polen
Gargonza Arts Award & Aufenthaltsstipendium, Gargonza, Italian
Stipendium der Schreibwerkstatt des Literaturhauses München
[email protected]
Graf & Graf
+49 30 31 5191–10
[email protected]
Sven Diedrich
Foreign Rights Director
Piper Verlag GmbH
Georgenstraße 4
80799 München, Germany
phone: +49 (89) 381801-26
[email protected]
Sarah Reinbacher
Foreign Rights Manager
Piper Verlag GmbH
Georgenstraße 4
80799 München, Germany
phone: +49 (89) 381801-735
[email protected]
The Japanese word ‘Hikikomori’ was coined to describe the reclusive withdrawal of young adults from
all forms of social interaction. Kevin Kuhn’s impressive debut novel offers unsettling insights into the
mind of one such young man.
Hikikomori charts a six-month period in the life of Till, during which he increasingly retreats from the
physical world into a virtual universe of his own creation. Till’s decision to live out his life in his
bedroom, with only his computer and smartphone for company, is triggered by his exclusion from
school. His parents are unaware of Till’s situation until it is too late. His father runs a successful
plastic surgery practice, while his mother sells beautiful but useless objects in her shop when she
feels like it, retiring to the family home to drink prosecco when she doesn’t. Till’s friends live
comfortable, middle-class lives with equally easy-going parents. Kuhn portrays them through Till’s
eyes, an outsider looking in, observing their teenage experiments with alcohol, drugs and sex with
growing detachment.
It is Till’s younger sister who comes up with the Hikikomori diagnosis when their parents seem at a
loss. She is unable to alleviate his isolation in any meaningful way, however, and actually adds to
Till’s problems when her boyfriend starts to take Till’s place at the family dining table. Till is acutely
perceptive with regard to his social withdrawal, describing himself as ‘floating’ above the lives of his
family and friends. Kuhn alternates between the third- and firstperson narrative voices in order to
highlight Till’s divided personality: on the one hand seeing himself objectively from the outside, and on
the other retreating to an introspective, inaccessible sense of himself. In another contradiction, Till
repeatedly states his determination to sort his life out for himself, while his ‘Hikikomori’ status renders
him totally dependent on his parents for food and shelter.
The online world which Till creates is described in rich, verdant terms which contrast sharply with the
stark, grey surroundings of his bedroom. It is with a sense of foreboding that the reader notes the
region of this world termed ‘Suicide Forest’. But in Till’s invented world there is no death, only
unending staircases and eternity. Perhaps this is what Till expects to find when he leaves his
bedroom for the final time, this time by jumping from the window. Hikikomori leaves us to reflect on
the hostility of our world and what it can do to those who cannot tolerate it.
Review by New Books in German, Issue 32.
Sample translation available here: