With the Sams, Paul Maar wrote a children's book classic. He doesn't only think up the stories. He illustrates them as well. He's published as many as 50 books. In addition, the 76-year-old writes plays, screenplays and opera libretti. His works have been translated into 20 languages. On Talking Germany, Paul Maar discusses his favorite books and favorite places.
Paul Maar says his own childhood wasn't always happy. His mother died shortly after his birth. His father had little understanding for his enthusiasm for reading. Despite that, the writer, who was born in 1937 in Schweinfurt, never lost his love of literature, art, music and theatre – a love shared by his classmate and future wife Nele Ballhaus, who came from a theatrical family. After studying art in Stuttgart, Paul Maar wanted to become a painter, but at first worked as an art teacher after his son was born. His three children are all grown up now – but they were what turned him into an author. He told them the stories he had made up and quickly written down.
Paul Maar's greatest success came with the stories of the Sams – Slurb in English – a quirky, cheeky creature that can fulfil wishes and helps the shy Herr Taschenbier to gain self-confidence. Maar has written seven Sams stories and immortalised the Taschenbier family. The film versions, like the stories, are set in Bamberg, where Paul Maar lives.
The fact that nine schools in Germany bear his name shows how popular Paul Maar is as a children's book author.