Author Christoph Hein, who's often described as publicity-shy outsider, has been named the new artistic director of the German Theater in Berlin. The city's cultural senator, Thomas Flierl, said he hoped the appointment would usher in a revival, turning the theater into Germany's leading stage again. In its best days, he said, the German Theater was known as a venue for true artists and excellent actors. He said that Hein possesses the intellectual overview, independence, and empathy for artistic endeavors needed for the job. Hein is widely regarded as one of the most important authors of the former East Germany. He began his career as a dramatist, and is also a prolific essayist and lecturer. He was formerly the president of the German PEN Center.