Photo: Portrait by Ralf Steinberger, 2014.

Sharon Dodua Otoo is a novelist and a political activist. She writes prose, essays, edits the book series “Witnessed” and curates the German-language literature festival "Resonanzen". Her debut novel “Adas Raum" has been translated into many languages. Otoo won the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in 2016, a major international literary award in German speaking countries.


Sharon Dodua Otoo is a novelist and a political activist. She writes prose, essays and is editor of the English-language book series “Witnessed” (edition assemblage). Her first novellas “the things i am thinking while smiling politely” and “Synchronicity” were published in 2012 and 2015 respectively by edition assemblage and most recently republished in German translation by S. Fischer Verlag in 2017 (translation by Mirjam Nuenning).

Otoo won the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in 2016 with the text “Herr Gröttrup setzt sich hin.” It was subsequently translated twice into English by Katy Derbyshire, Judith Menzl and Patrick Ploschnitzki and published in 2020 in a bilingual edition by STILL Magazine. Otoo gave the inaugural speech at the 2020 Festival of German Language Literature which was published by Verlag Heyn in the same year. Both texts (the short story and the speech) were republished in 2022 by S. Fischer Verlag.

Otoo’s first novel, “Adas Raum”, is written in German and was published in 2021 by S. Fischer Verlag. The English translation by Jon Cho-Polizzi appeared in Spring 2023 (UK: “Ada's Realm”; USA: “Adas's Room”). “Gesammeltes Schweigen” was published in 2022 by Edition Zweifel and is a joint German-language publication with Heinrich Böll.

Otoo is politically active with the registered associations Initiative Black People in Germany, Phoenix, the Coalition for Pluralistic Pubilc Discourse (CPPD) and is associated with the Black queer feminist organisation ADEFRA. In 2022 she curated the Black German-Language Literature Festival “Resonanzen” in cooperation with the Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen.

She has four children and lives in Berlin.

Awards & Distinctions

2016, Ingeborg Bachmann Prize

2018, Scholarship of the German Literature Fund

2019, TAGEWERK Scholarship (Guntram and Irene Rinke Foundation)

2022, Schroeder Writer-in-Residence, Cambridge University, UK

2022, Order of Merit of the State of Berlin

2023, Max Kade Writer-in-Residence, Lafayette College, USA

2024, Honorary Fellow, Villa Aurora, USA


2021, Visiting Fellow, Cambridge University, UK

2022, Trustee, Federal President's History Competition


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