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Benjamin Lebert

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Sign of the Eight 

Fantasy Novel

A gateway to a world of the past, of vanished names, hopes and dreams has opened in the depths of the Black Forest. Two messengers have come to our present from the immense sunken realms of time. 


Tristan is the messenger of doom. Martha is the messenger of preservation. They used to be lovers, now they are sworn enemies. They have come together to fight one final, decisive battle.


But they cannot fight this fight alone. Both must win allies to fight by their side. Time is of the essence and there can only be a few - everything revolves around the eight, a mystical number that refers to infinity.


Tristan and Martha must search the Black Forest to find six comrades-in-arms to join their fight. Ultimately, five fighters for doom and three fighters for preservation will face each other. And the battle of the eight will continue until only one of them is left and the fate of humanity is sealed.

„On occasion near poetic.“
Suanne Schafer
„Horror and dark fantasy fans will appreciate this timeless showdown that plays out in an unusual geographical location.“
April Spisak


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Benjamin Lebert

The Bird is
a Raven

A Novel
Henry and Paul are strangers when they find themselves sharing a sleeping compartment on a night train from Munich to Berlin. When they begin to talk, their stories appear to be variations on the same theme: young guys adrift in the big city, relationships gone wrong, broken hearts. Henry is running away from a triangle of friendship gone sour; Paul is running away too, but as the night unfolds and the train speeds north across the German landscape, his story turns ominous. What he finally reveals to his unsuspecting traveling companion goes into the darkest sphere of human behavior.
“Lebert explores the limits of trust, blending broad humor and sudden bursts of melodrama while maintaining a delicately balanced tension. . . . [He] does a lot with a few words.”
The New York Times Book Review
Jagged, lyrical, this gem from a 23-year-old wunderkind of German fiction (Crazy, 2000) shines darkly.
...Mirroring the early, bitter work of Brett Easton Ellis and Jay McInerney, this is tough, twilit fare: youth as madhouse.
Kirkus Reviews
“Filled with. . . youthful fatalism that is counterbalanced with wild swings of elation.”
The Advocate (Baton Rouge)
benjamin lebert crazy gibt es auch auf englisch. benjamin lebert autor erzählt davon. benjamin lebert official website hält viel bereit. 
Benjamin Lebert


A Novel
A coming-of-age novel, written when the author was sixteen years old. Crazy appeals to the teenager in us all. 

Benni himself is partially paralyzed and a serial failure (he's been kicked out of four boarding schools in his short life and has just entered his fifth). So he's a little odd, but he's cool and he finds other strange boys to hang with. Together they set out to experience what they can: girls, booze, sex, philosophy, drugs, sex, books, music, sex–pretty much everything whatever. And Benni lets us in on "the crazy life" he figures is the only way to deal with the crazy world.
"Anything he writes is, by definition, pitch-perfect."
The New York Times Book Review
"Moving and funny."
Los Angeles Times
"A beautiful book about someone grasping freedom for the first time."

Reading samples

Das ist ein Foto des Autors Benjamin Lebert.

About the Author

Benjamin Lebert short biography
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Benjamin Lebert, born in Freiburg im Breisgau in 1982, is the son of the journalist Andreas Lebert. His grandparents are the authors Ursula and Norbert Lebert.

Benjamin Lebert began writing stories at the age of twelve. His father was a co-founder of the youth supplement "Jetzt" of the "Süddeutsche Zeitung", for which Lebert published his first storys at the age of fourteen. The writer Maxim Biller liked these stories a lot, which dealt with Leberts school life and the darkness of teenage life. So Kerstin Gleba, editor of the publishing house Kiepenheuer & Witsch became aware of the young teenage writer, who at that time

 was repeating eighth grade due to very bad school results. Gleba encouraged him to write a whole novel. Within a year, Benjamin Lebert wrote his autobiographically inspired book “Crazy”, which was published as a KiWi paperback in 1999.

The book by a partial paralysed teenager caused a sensation and was extremely controversial. Renowned newspapers (including “Der Spiegel”, “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”, “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, “Die Zeit”) published articles about Lebert that dealt with the phenomenon of this success from different perspectives. But the writer's name also appeared in tabloid magazines (such as "Bravo" and "Gala").

Numerous titles were attached to Lebert. He was derided as a "boring schoolboy existence", but also called a german "Wunderkind" and a highly important voice of a generation".

In an issue of the "Magazine of the Süddeutsche Zeitung" from the year 2000, the writer said the following: "Stop it, friends! Stop letting a single voice speak for an entire age group. That makes no sense. It certainly won't be able to speak for everyone. So what's the point? I just say: Yes, I'm 18 and yes, sometimes I'm fine and sometimes I feel like shit, but it was like that when I was 17, 16 and 15. And everyone would express something different here..."

Benjamin Lebert's novel "Crazy" deals with the issues and problems of growing up and in the novel Lebert also addressed the hemiplegia with which he was born. "Crazy" became a bestseller. In 2000 german director Hans-Christian Schmid adapted the novel for the big screen. It was the first major film appearance for many of the young actors who starred in "Crazy," and later became movie stars, for instance Robert Stadlober, Tom Schilling, Oona Devi Liebich, Julia Hummer, Karoline Herfurth and Alexandra Maria Lara played in Lebert's "Crazy".

The film adaptation of Lebert's novel was awarded the German Film Prize in silver. Hans-Christian Schmid also received this award for his directing work. Robert Stadlober and Tom Schilling won the Bavarian Film Award in the category Best Young Actor for their roles. Benjamin Lebert held the eulogy for the two actors.

In response to the massive media coverage and the various nicknames and verbal abuse that

the 17-year-old teenager had to deal with, Benjamin Lebert wore a T-shirt with the inscription

“Das Kind" (the Child). Florian Illies' scathing review had been given this headline shortly before in "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" . Numerous television and radio journalists (e.g. from “WDR”, “Deutschlandfunk”, etc.) were present at Lebert’s first reading. The teenager sat behind a cluster of microphones while reading.

In the course of the theatrical release of "Crazy", Benjamin Lebert was a guest on the Talkshow "SternTV", which was moderated by famous german TV-Host Günther Jauch.

"Crazy" has been translated into over thirty languages and has sold 1.2 million copies to date. The novel was also adapted for the stage and performed as a play in several German theaters.

After the success of his first work, Benjamin Lebert gave courses as a guest lecturer at New York University for creative writing. At the age of 16, Benjamin Lebert dropped out of school during the ninth grade, initially without graduating. In order to give interviews and hold readings, Benjamin Lebert traveled to many of the more than thirty countries in which his novel "Crazy" was published. For example to France, Russia, England, Thailand, Japan and the USA.

In October 1999, Benjamin Lebert was pictured on the cover of „Der Spiegel“, along with other writers Karen Duve, Jenny Erpenbeck, Elke Naters, Thomas Lehr and Thomas Brussig. The headline read:

"The New German Poets".


During the course of his writing career, Benjamin Lebert was photographed by many well-known photographers for magazines and newspapers. Among others by Karin Rocholl, Konrad R. Müller, Jim Rakete and Terry Richardson.

 In 2000, Bavarian television broadcast a documentary about Benjamin Lebert on TV.

The title of the documentation was: "The young man and his book". The Documentation was directed by Regina Schilling and Corinna Belz. Quite unusual for writers several official book signings with Benjamin Lebert took place across the country. Up to 1000 teenagers showed up.

For example in Munich, in the “Hugendubel” bookshop on Rathausplatz. Due to the success of "Crazy", other publishing houses also increasingly focused on young authors. Among them was e.g. the novel "Staring at the Sun" by Jan Drees. Lebert's debut served as a source of inspiration for other authors during the Nineties. Wolfgang Herrndorf's successful book "Tschick", which was published in 2010, is often mentioned in the same breath as „Crazy“.

In March 2000, Benjamin Lebert's short story "The Paperboy" was published in the magazine "SPIEGELreporter". In August of the same year, Benjamin Lebert and his grandmother, the journalist Ursula Lebert, published the children's book "The Story of the Little Dog, who couldn't bark.” The illustrations for this book were created by the illustrator Hildegard Müller. In an interview with the "Rheinische Post" Lebert said: »Most people consider "Crazy" to be my autobiography. That's wrong. »Crazy« is a novel in which there is a character who is similar to me and has my name. That's all. My autobiography is a completely different book, namely: "The Story of the Little Dog That Couldn't Bark."

In July 2001, Lebert traveled to England for a short reading tour. There he gave an interview to "The Guardian". The resulting article about him was published under the title "Flawed Genius". Benjamin Lebert achieved hereby something unusual that rarely occurs in the book industry: he was featured in german teen magazines such as "Bravo" as well as in internationally renowned newspapers such as the "The New York Times" and the "The Guardian".

Benjamin Lebert's second novel "The Bird is a Raven" was published in 2003. Benjamin Lebert departed from the tonality of the first novel and explained in several interviews: »This book is about the journey of two young men in a very small space – the Space that the night grants them.« In the course of the publication of "The Bird is a raven" Benjamin Lebert was a guest on the talk show "3nach9" and was invited to the program "Beckmann" together with supermodel Heidi Klum. Lebert also had a conversation with famous german journalist Gero von Boehm on "3SAT" in his program "Gero von Boehm meets..." In September, Lebert was voted "Pascha of the Month" by feminist magazine "Emma". The magazine criticized "rude sex fantasies" and “Overused and long outdated male beliefs.” In 2021, Lebert stated in his book "With you" which the author published together with his father Andreas Lebert: » Back then I was very sad and depressed because of that strange Titel I have been given. When I told my family about the "Pascha of the Month" at the kitchen table, my sister looked at me and said: »What are you complaining about? "Emma" nailed it.«

From October 2 to November 15, 2003, Benjamin Lebert read from his novel “The Bird is a raven” in 38 cities. Among other places, he read from his novel in "infamous" german clubs - such as the cultural center "Batschkapp" in Frankfurt, "Mojo Club" in Hamburg and in "Zack" in Düsseldorf. "The Bird is a Raven" has been translated into six languages. Peter Constantine was awarded the "Helen and Kurt Wolff" translator prize for his translation into English. Benjamin Lebert's novel was also adapted for the theater, directed by Bettina Rehm at the Theater Trier.

In the January 2003 issue, the magazine "Neon" published a list of the 100 most important young Germans. Lebert's name also appeared on this list.

In 2004, Benjamin Lebert obtained his secondary school leaving certificate at the adult education center in Freiburg. At the same time, in the room next door, other students had to sit the written exam for the middle school certificate. »When it was all over - I found out that her test subject had been my book "Crazy".«


At the invitation of the "German Academic Exchange Service" ("DAAD"), Lebert traveled to Rostov am Don in June 2004, exchanged ideas with students from Russia and Chechnya about literature and the general reality of life among students.

In 2005, director Lars Kraume made a feature film based on a story by Benjamin Lebert. This had been published a few years before in the magazine "Jetzt". The article was about trying to make life decisions just by rolling dice over a period of time. Kraume's film, starring David Sieveking and Caroline Korneli, was ultimately called "Kismet - dice your life!" However, it was very different from Lebert's story.

In 2005, Benjamin Lebert was a founding member of the Lübeck Literature Meeting initiated by Nobel Prize winner Günter Grass.

In 2006 Benjamin Lebert's third novel "You can" was published. In an interview with "Badische Zeitung", Lebert said: "This book is about the restlessness of young adults and the world of possibilities that is suggested to them. They seek support in role models, which becomes a kind of addiction. This lasts until they can no longer get in touch, neither with themselves nor with others. "You can" is also a satire on the German pop literature of the 90s and its strange blossoms. I was

probably one of them myself, even if I don't like hearing it that much.« In the course of the

release of "You Can" Benjamin Lebert was a guest on the popular NDR afternoon show "DAS!".

He also appeared in "Sarah Kuttner - The Show". After the release of the book Benjamin Lebert went on a tour with the singer-songwriter Jan Koch. In total, the two left more than twenty cities and towns behind. The trip also took Benjamin Lebert to Holland, where he read from “You can” in

The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

As part of the cultural program of the 2006 Football World Cup in Germany, Lebert led discussions with schoolchildren in the "Literature" spate, dealt with their texts and exchanged ideas with them about creative writing.

In 2007 he translated the high school novel "10th Grade" by the American Joseph Weisberg, which was published in German under the title "Zehnte Klasse".

In 2009 Benjamin Lebert's fourth novel "Pelicans in Flight" was published by "Kiepenheuer & Witsch". In an interview with "Planet Interview" Lebert spoke about his book as follows:

"The novel is about a young man from Hamburg who spends a summer with his Uncle Jimmy, a diner owner, in New York and gets sucked into Uncle Jimmy's great passion: the infamous 1963 escape from the prison island of Alcatraz. It's about how to keep the faith and to face your own life, no matter how difficult it may be, and how to escape from the prison of your own making.”

In order to write this novel, Lebert traveled to New York and San Francisco to do research for the book.

On September 12, 2010, Benjamin Lebert and his father hosted a moderated by the American-Canadian writer John Irving in front of 1,800 people in Hamburg's “Laeiszhalle”.

From October 2011 to April 2012, the exhibition “Youth endangering Writings” could be seen and experienced in the “Günter-Grass-Haus” in Lübeck. Many literary classics were recited by young actors from the “Lübeck Theater”, which visitors to the exhibition could view on monitors. In addition to the works of literary classics such as Goethe's "The Sorrows of Young Werther", Benjamin Lebert's novel "Crazy" was also selected for this exhibition.

In 2012 Benjamin Lebert's fifth novel "Hearts in Winter" was published. In an interview with "Hamburger Abendblatt", Lebert said: "It's sort of a spiritual book. Many people are in a kind of hibernation. They try to keep an eye on everything and therefore they are losing themselves". When the novel was published, Lebert was Guest on the popular talk show "Kölner Treff" hosted by Bettina Böttinger and he was invited again to the afternoon show "DAS! In the course of the publication of "Hearts in Winter" he had numerous appearances and readings, e.g. at the book fair in Leipzig and in the "Gerhart-Hauptmann-Haus" on the island of Hiddensee.

In the summer of 2012, on the fiftieth anniversary of Hermann Hesse's death, Benjamin Lebert wrote a personal homage to the Nobel Prize winner, which was published in the weekly newspaper "Die Zeit" under the title "Wild desire, strong feelings".

In 2013, Benjamin Lebert was the german editor of the fragmented correspondence between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway in book form . The title of the book was: "Lousy damned acrobats". The book was published by the publishing house "Hoffmann & Campe". Benjamin Lebert wrote a foreword for this book and translated Fitzgerald's letters from American into German. This exchange of letters had never before appeared as a single publication.


In August 2014 Benjamin Lebert's sixth novel "Midnight's Path" was published by "Hoffmann und Campe", a modern ghost story in the style of gothic novel. In an interview with "Hello Munich!" Benjamin Lebert said about the story: "It's about a mysterious woman and the young man who follows her footsteps to Sylt, where myths and legends about the sea and the tides are told and a lot of darkness awaits the characters in the novel.« The publicist Ulrich Greiner wrote in his review for »Die Zeit«: »The story is attractively confusing, in an old-fashioned way wacky. Lebert has the language for it, and one is amazed to see that the good old ghost story still exists.«

In the course of the publication, Lebert was invited to Norway by the Goethe Institute, where he read from the novel in Bergen, Oslo and Ski. A year later, the novel was turned into an audio drama by "Titania Medien" and became part of their successful Audio Horror Series "Gruselkabinett. In the course of the publication of his book, Benjamin Lebert was a guest on the cultural TV-Show "Aspekte" on "ZDF". Benjamin Lebert was also a guest on the TV-Show "Zibb" on "RBB". “Midnight's Path” was nominated for the renowned highly endowed “Text & Sprach” literature prize of "Kulturkreis der Deutschen Wirtschaft."

In 2015 Benjamin Lebert published a new edition of "The Man Who Loved Islands" - a story by D.H. Lawrence. Lebert wrote the foreword for this publication and translated the story from English into German. In a radio feature on "Bayern 2", the critic Jochen Rack noted: "In his translation, Benjamin Lebert has captured the mood of futility and alienation that D.H. Lawrence paints in his story. The snow-covered, deserted island becomes a metaphor for a transcendental homelessness and senselessness that makes one think of both Kafka and Beckett. That is why "The Man Who Loved Islands" is an essential part of a literary history of existentialism. The new translation was worth it.” 

Benjamin Lebert's seventh novel "The Darkness between the stars" was published in 2017 by "S. Fischer-Verlag". The novel was created after a two-month trip to Nepal, where Lebert did voluntary service in a children's home in the capital Kathmandu in 2015 and was confronted with the stories of the children and young people who were often sold by their parents to human traffickers in order to secure their livelihood and eventually found refuge in the Recovery Home. Shortly after the author's return to Europe, the tragic earthquake occurred, which, among other areas, devastated large parts of the city of Nepal's capital. The journalist and author Volker Weidermann called the novel "a brilliant book" in his review for "Der Spiegel".

In 2017, Benjamin Lebert was included in the list of the most important German-speaking intellectuals by the magazine "Cicero" for the third time. In his book "Mit Dir" the author commented on the creation of such lists as follows: "A few years ago I was also included in the list of the most embarrassing Berliners. A title I am particularly proud of. I'm not a Berliner at all."

At the beginning of 2020, Benjamin Lebert wrote a young adult book for the first time again after "Crazy" was published. The novel was finally published under the title "Sign of the Eight" by "Arctis" Verlag. An interview with Lebert was also printed in the book, in which he talks about the novel: "It's a fantasy story, but above all it deals with the concerns and needs of young people in their actual, real world . Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to suggestions of any kind. In their sensitivity, they are constantly aware of the forces that want to pull them this way and that. How young people deal with these powers, resist them or use them for something good and gradually start believing in their own power again, that's what "Sign of the Eight" is all about.
In 2021, "Aufbau Verlag" published the non-fiction book "With you: father and son on the streets of life, which Benjamin Lebert wrote together with his father Andreas. Benjamin Lebert said in an interview with "Bangerang" magazine: »The book is about the connection between father and son, the course of closeness and distance in a father-son relationship, as well as the pursuit of happiness and dealing with fears on the streets of life. I've also become a father in the meantime, have a 3-year-old journeyman at home and, as you may know, fathers and sons really get going right from the start. Everything beautiful and all the stuff that scares you immediately comes alive and swirls around the apartment. And in your soul too.« 
In autumn, the "Zeit Magazin" published a detailed interview with Andreas Lebert and his son Benjamin.

Also in 2021, "Aufbau Verlag" published Benjamin Lebert's successful novel "Crazy" in a new edition. The book contained a foreword by actor Robert Stadlober, who played Lebert in the film "Crazy". In it he described the novel and the encounter with Lebert as "precious." The paperback also contained an interview with Benjamin Lebert himself, in which he goes into detail about the genesis of the popular book.

"Bym" magazine wrote: »You never know where you stand with Lebert. One finds penny texts, shallow entertainment, but also profound thoughts and sentences that have a lasting effect. All in all, it gives his books something very alive. Many authors can write better than he does, but Lebert always manages to arouse curiosity and surprise.«

Benjamin Lebert has been in contact with other contemporary writers for many years, for example with the members of the Lübeck Literature Meeting, including Eva Melasse and Feridun Zaimoglu. He had a particularly close acquaintance with Günter Grass, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. The two appreciate each other, with Lebert crediting the writer Grass - particularly his work "Cat and Mouse" - as an inspiration. When Günter Grass died, Benjamin Lebert published a personal obituary in which he reported on his first encounter with Grass. Lebert was a 16-year-old teenager at the time.
In the spring of 2023, the publishing house "Beltz & Gelberg" published a novel by Benjamin Lebert, which he had written for children aged 9 to 12. The title of the novel is: "Julian and Anisa and the miracle of the juniper park". The story is about a girl and a boy from Hamburg who find each other in order - despite all adversities - to master an exciting task together.
Benjamin Lebert
c/o Landwehr & Cie. KG

Gormannstraße 21

10119 Berlin



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