Hinzmann is looking forward to reading from her latest crime novel Der Duft des Oleanders (The Scent of Oleanders, Wieser Verlag, 2015) in Leipzig on the 17th of March at this prestigious German book fair.

The literary world is focused on Leipzig these days where, from the 17th to 20th of March one of the most prestigious European book fairs is being held under the motto Leipzig Reads. The fair will feature over two thousand exhibitors, including Silvija Hinzmann, a writer of Croatian extraction from Stuttgart. Silvija Hinzmann has established herself in Germany as a crime novel writer. These days she is looking forward to reading from her latest crime novel Der Duft des Oleanders (The Scent of Oleanders, Wieser Verlag, 2015) in Leipzig on the 17th of March at this prestigious German book fair. Along with the novel Der Duft des Oleanders (Wieser Verlag, 2015), she has been included over the past decade, from 2006, in numerous German crime story anthologies. We interviewed Silvija Hinzmann and learned some new details about her career as a writer.

If I remember correctly your crime novels were exhibited about a decade ago at the international book fair in Zagreb as part of the CHF German Croatica project?
– Yes, I was very happy about that and wish to once again thank you for the opportunity to appear in Croatia as a writer.

We have read in the German press that your writing career has progressed. Can you elaborate on that for readers of the CHF portal?
– In the meantime I have published a number of short crime novels and edited several anthologies, both with my colleagues and on my own. This year has finally seen the publication of my second crime novel, Der Duft des Oleanders (The Scent of Oleanders), released by the Wieser publishing house of Klagenfurt in Austria. I have set the plot of the novel in magical Istria County.

How was this past autumn’s book fair in Frankfurt and what do you look forward to at the book fair in Leipzig this spring?
– These are two of the most influential European and global book fairs, and I am proud to be appearing at them as a crime novel author. Frankfurt was truly fascinating. I met with my fellow writers, visited the stands of my publishers and met many interesting people. I am particularly looking forward to Leipzig because this fair nurtures the authorial voice of contemporary global and European literature; I will be reading there from the adventures of Joe Prohaska, the protagonist of my latest novel.

Since we spoke last what new short stories and books have you published and were have you appeared?
– I had the opportunity of presenting my new crime novels at many literary events. For example I participated several time with my fellow writers at the book fair in Stuttgart, the Stuttgarter Buchwochen, staged every year from mid-November to early December, and at the annual Die Criminale festival featuring crime novel authors in the German speaking world, members of the Syndikat literary association, presented annually in Germany. I appeared on several occasions in Switzerland (Zurich and Bern) and in Austria when the Die Criminale event was staged there. I have participated in numerous events, at library presentations and at some more challenging sites! I have appeared at a provincial prison, having been included in the Gesiebte Luft (Screened Air) anthology, and in a tram, a wine cellar and at similar locations. In Germany reading, as you can see, is being promoted in even the most unusual places. In November of 2015 I visited Vienna to promote my novel Der Duft des Oleanders. It was a successful literary gathering with fellow writers from Austria at the book fair in Vienna, where I was interviewed for the 3sat show (3sat auf der Buch Wien 15). I also appeared at the Berlin book fair (Buch Berlin) and once at the crime novel festival in Klagenfurt.

What topics are now in the focus of your interest?
– As a writer I have always had an interest in topics in the socio-political sphere; currently and, I would say, inevitably, I am drawn to the situation related to the current wave of émigrés, an inexhaustible thematic wellspring of human destinies. I am currently engaged in the translation of a novel and, when I complete this, I intend to begin work on the next Joe Prohaska novel.

When can we expect the promotion of your crime stories and novels in Zagreb?
– I hope to have an opportunity to visit Zagreb in the early summer and the CHF headquarters to promote my latest novel.
The press is following you writing career in Germany – are you satisfied with the response of readers and fellow writers?
– The reactions are very good, although there are those decidedly less positive, which is to be expected. During the book fair in Frankfurt the well read and influential Bunte weekly published an article on the 15th of October 2015 under the headline Europe: Site of a Crime – chilling stories from beautiful places in which I was delighted to see my novel Der Duft des Oleanders mentioned as one of the best new crime novels. The Croatian Voice of Berlin portal also ran a positive review of my crime novel, penned by Slavica Klimkowsky. In short I am very happy that my novel has also found an excellent reception among our Croatians.

Do you visit the homeland and what is there in the old country that delights or, conversely, exasperates you?
– I visit the homeland whenever I have the opportunity to do so. I am most delighted when I meet with relatives and, given my predilection for photography, I like to visit the places I have not yet had an opportunity to see in Our Beautiful Homeland – vacations always being far too short! I am absolutely enamoured of my native Slavonia region! There is nothing in particular that rankles me in Croatia that would not irritate me here in Germany as well, or anywhere else for that matter – such as, for example, discord, envy or intolerance.

Silvija Hinzmann was born in Čakovec in 1956. She grew up and received her education in Dežanovac and in Daruvar. She moved with her family to Stuttgart in 1970 at the age of fourteen where she continued her education and settled permanently. Upon completing her education and work in various companies she took employment in the civil service in 1993. After having passed the state exam for interpreters and translators at Darmstadt University, she obtained her permit to work as a court interpreter and translator. The destinies of her clients from the social services inspired her to write detective stories. She writes in German, although she considers Czech and Croatian to be her maternal languages, which she learned to speak perfectly in the family home from her grandparents Alojz and Marija in the Slavonia region village of Dežanovac near the town of Daruvar, where these two languages enjoy equal status. She has published numerous translations, crime stories and novels and has achieved great success with her novel Der Duft des Oleanders (Wieser Verlag, 2015). She has been included in a number of anthologies of German crime prose. She has also herself published a number of collections of short crime stories. Hinzmann is a member of the German Association of Literary Translators (VdÜ), the Federal Association of German Translators (BDÜ) and the Association of Court Interpreters and Translators, registered in the Baden-Württemberg region (VVU). She is a member of the German crime writers’ association Syndikat, the international association of female crime writers Mörderische Schwestern and of others.

Text by: Vesna Kukavica



1 – The book fair in Leipzig
2 – The cover of the latest novel, Der Duft des Oleanders
3 – An article in the Bunte weekly (2015)
4 – Hinzmann at the book fair in Vienna interviewed for the 3sat show