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Culture

Don't label my generation, says 16-year-old German author

She may only be 16 but she's already a published author. Katharina Weiss' book "Generation Geil" ("Generation Cool") aims to paint an accurate picture of what makes today's young Germans tick.

Author Katharina Weiss

Katharina Weiss certainly belongs to "Generation Cool"

"Generation Porno," Facebook-addicts, flatrate-drinkers - today's young people in Germany have garnered quite a few unflattering labels. Katharina Weiss, a 16-year-old from a small village in Bavaria, was fed up with being put in a box and went out to find out - and show the rest of Germany - what her peers are really like.

From sex, drugs and alcohol to religion, security and future plans, Weiss proves that she and her generation can't be put in a box.

Deutsche Welle: What was the concept of your new book "Generation Geil"?

Katharina Weiss: For the book I interviewed 20 young people from all over Germany and asked them for their opinions about topics such as politics, love, religion, school, parents, sex, moral values and future opportunities. There are really so few media platforms around today for young people to voice an opinion and for that reason an increasing number of adults are writing about young people. I wanted to change that.

The word "geil" can be translated into English as either "cool" or "horny." Which meaning did you intend?

Definitely cool. I didn't mean horny at all!

From all the portraits of young people you featured in your book, do you have a favorite?

This guy called Fabian was a real interview highlight for me. He was a really charismatic personality and came out with the funniest stories with such an appealing streak of nihilism.

Katharina Weiss

Still at school, Katharina has no definite career plans yet but journalism could be an option

The book has caused quite a splash for its frank opinions about school, sex and drugs. Did you set out to write something controversial?

I just wanted to present different lives and compose authentic portraits of people. So far the feedback from people my age who have read the book has been very encouraging.

Was it easy to find a publisher?

Actually, yes. I really had a lot of luck there and everything happened insanely fast. I saw an author on MTVhome.de and she had written a similar non-fiction portrait type book and I really liked this idea. All I did was send the synopsis for my book to her publisher, Shwartzkopf & Schwartzkopf, and the rest was history.

At 16, you're already a published author. What are your career plans?

I still don't have any definite ideas yet but obviously something like journalism interests me. To be able to meet new people and have insight into their lives and stories is something which I find very appealing.

What would be your advice for other young people who want to write a book?

I'm not sure I am the right person to ask for advice to be honest. I just had a lot of luck! But in general, all I can say is: Give it a try. A year ago, I would never have imagined that I would publish a book.

When you're not making waves in the world of literature what do you like to get up to?

Book cover: Generation Geil by Katharina Weiss

Out now from Schwartzkopf & Schwartzkopf

I like photography a lot and especially like taking party pictures in clubs. I'm also a big film fan. In addition I'm responsible for putting together the youth page of our local newspaper.

Christmas is just around the corner: What would you like to find in your stocking on Christmas morning?

Well, here in Bavaria we get a visit from the "Christkind" [Christ Child] and I'd be over the moon if he brought me tickets for next year's Rock am Ring music festival!

Interview: Gavin Blackburn

Editor: Kate Bowen

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