Famous Austrian Playwrights

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Austrian Playwrights

 1 
Stefan Zweig
(One of the Most Popular and Widely Translated Writers in the World During 1920s & 1930s)

Stefan Zweig
4
Birthdate: November 28, 1881
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: February 22, 1942

Stefan Zweig was an Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist, and biographer. He was one of the most widely translated and most popular writers in the world at the height of his career. His best-known work is Sternstunden der Menschheit, in which he wrote about decisive historical events. His later years were very difficult and he died by suicide in 1942.

 2 
Peter Handke
(One of the Most Influential and Original German-Language Writers Known for His Work 'Offending the Audience')

Peter Handke
4
Birthdate: December 6, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Griffen, Austria

Peter Handke is an Austrian novelist, poet, translator, playwright, screenwriter, and film director. One of the most respected personalities in Austria, Handke has won several prestigious awards over the course of his career. In 1973, he was awarded the Georg Büchner Prize. In 1987, he won the Vilenica International Literary Prize. In 2019, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature.

 3 
Oskar Kokoschka
(Artist, Poet and Playwright)

Oskar Kokoschka
3
Birthdate: March 1, 1886
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pöchlarn, Austria
Died: February 22, 1980

Austrian artist, playwright, poet and teacher Oskar Kokoschka CBE is counted among the prominent exponents of Expressionism whose works influenced the Viennese Expressionist movement. Notable works of Kokoschka include paintings like The Bride of the Wind and Portrait of Lotte Franzos and writings like the short play Murderer, the Hope of Women and the play Orpheus und Eurydike.   

Recommended Lists:

 4 
Elfriede Jelinek
(Playwright, Novelist)

Elfriede Jelinek
3
Birthdate: October 20, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mürzzuschlag, Austria

Elfriede Jelinek is an Austrian novelist and playwright who was honored with the 2004 Nobel Prize in Literature. Widely regarded as the most prominent playwright of the German language, Elfriede Jelinek has several prestigious awards and honors under her belt.

 5 

Arthur Schnitzler
3
Birthdate: May 15, 1862
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: October 21, 1931

Born to a doctor, Arthur Schnitzler had initially followed in his father’s footsteps and practiced medicine, gaining expertise in psychiatry. He later made a mark as an author and playwright with works such as Anatol and None but the Brave, which became hallmarks of modernism and the decadent movement.

 6 
Robert Musil
(Former philosophical writer whose unfinished novel, The Man Without Qualities is generally considered to be one of the most important and influential modernist novels)

Robert Musil
3
Birthdate: November 6, 1880
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Klagenfurt, Austria
Died: April 15, 1942

Best remembered for his incomplete novel The Man Without Qualities, Austrian-German novelist Robert Musil had worked as a librarian, editor, and journalist and was also a qualified mechanical engineer. He had also served in the army during World War I but mostly gained fame as a modernist writer.

 7 
Thomas Bernhard
(Former Writer who explored death, social injustice, and human misery in controversial literature)

Thomas Bernhard
3
Birthdate: February 9, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Heerlen, Netherlands
Died: February 12, 1989

Thomas Bernhard was born to an unwed mother in Holland and spent a lot of his adolescence in hospitals due to his chronic lung disease, which eventually claimed his life at age 58. He excelled in music and drama and gained fame for his controversial and pessimistic novels and plays.

You May Like

 8 
Franz Werfel
(Novelist, playwright, and poet whose career spanned World War I)

Franz Werfel
3
Birthdate: September 10, 1890
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Prague, Czechia
Died: August 26, 1945

Franz Werfel worked in a shipping house and fought in World War I before making his mark as an Expressionist poet. His fame rests on the iconic novels The Song of Bernadette and The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, with the former being turned into a four-time Academy Award-winning film.

 9 
Elias Canetti
(Former author who received the Nobel Prize in literature in 1981)

Elias Canetti
3
Birthdate: July 25, 1905
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ruse, Bulgaria
Died: August 14, 1994

Bulgarian-born author and Nobel laureate Elias Canetti interestingly became one of the greatest authors in German, his third language. Though equipped with a doctoral degree in chemistry, he gained fame for his iconic works such as The Tower of Babel and Crowds and Power, which focused on crowd psychology.

 10 
Carl Djerassi
(Contribution to the development of oral contraceptive pills)

Carl Djerassi
3
Birthdate: October 29, 1923
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: January 30, 2015

Known as the father of the pill, Carl Djerassi is best remembered for chemically synthesizing a steroid mimic of the hormone progesterone, which paved the way for the production of contraceptive pills.  That apart, he made important contributions to the synthesis of antihistamines, pest control, mass spectrometry etc. Also a successful author, he wrote several non-fictions, novels, dramas and poems.

 11 
Hermann Broch
(Former writer, best known for two major works of modernist fiction: The Sleepwalkers (Die Schlafwandler, 1930–32) and The Death of Virgil (Der Tod des Vergil, 1945))

Hermann Broch
3
Birthdate: November 1, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: May 30, 1951

Born into an affluent family, Hermann Broch sold his family’s textile factory to focus on studying physics, math, and philosophy. Mostly known for his literary works such as The Sleepwalkers, he had ventured into writing only after 40. He was imprisoned by the Nazis and later fled to the U.S.

 12 
Daniel Kehlmann
(Novelist)

Daniel Kehlmann
3
Birthdate: January 13, 1975
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Munich, Germany

Best known for his bestselling novel Tyll, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and is also being made into a Netflix series, German author Daniel Kehlmann is the son of TV director Michael Kehlmann and actor Dagmar Mettler. His other notable works include Measuring the World and Fame.

 13 

Ödön von Horváth
2
Birthdate: December 9, 1901
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rijeka, Croatia
Died: June 1, 1938

Born to an Austro-Hungarian diplomat, Ödön von Horváth grew up studying in Hungarian but later became one of the finest writers of German literature. The writer of iconic plays such as Italian Night and Tales from the Vienna Woods, he was a significant anti-fascist playwright. He died in a thunderstorm.

 14 

Franz Grillparzer
2
Birthdate: January 15, 1791
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: January 21, 1872

Franz Grillparzer had a tough life, with his father dying in debt and his mother having committed suicide. He studied law and then worked as a government clerk before discovering his passion for writing. Known for his tragedies such as Sappho, he became one of the finest Austrian dramatists ever.

 15 

Ilse Aichinger
2
Birthdate: November 1, 1921
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: November 11, 2016

Ilse Aichinger and her twin sister, Helga, were half-Jews and were thus forbidden to study by the Nazis and sent to a button factory as laborers instead. Following World War II, she studied medicine but later quit studies to pen her harrowing experiences in her bestselling novel The Greater Hope.

 16 

Johann Nestroy
2
Birthdate: December 7, 1801
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: May 25, 1862

Austrian singer, actor, and playwright Johann Nestroy was part of the popular Austrian tradition of the Biedermeier era in Central Europe. He took part in the Revolutions of 1848 and the new liberal spirit which was spreading across Europe at that time reflected in his works. He penned around 80 comedies, including Einen Jux will er sich machen.

 17 
Leo Birinski
(Playwright who gained his biggest popularity from 1910 – 1917)

Leo Birinski
1
Birthdate: June 8, 1884
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lysyanka, Ukraine
Died: October 23, 1951

 18 
Hermann Bahr
(Writer)

Hermann Bahr
1
Birthdate: July 19, 1863
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Linz, Austria
Died: January 15, 1934

Austrian author and dramatist Hermann Bahr attempted to combine naturalism and romanticism and also mastered mysticism and Symbolism. He is best remembered for his works such as the novel Himmelfahrt and the essay Wien, though the latter was banned. He had also been the director of the Deutsches Theater.

Alexander Lernet-Holenia
1
Birthdate: October 21, 1897
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: July 3, 1976

Best known for his novel Die Standarte and his plays such as Austrian Comedy and Mishmash, Austrian author and poet Alexander Lernet-Holenia had initially studied law and also fought in World War I. During World War II, he traveled as part of an army film unit.

 20 

Ludwig Anzengruber
1
Birthdate: November 29, 1839
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: December 10, 1889

After losing his father at 5, Ludwig Anzengruber grew up amid poverty. A school drop-out, he eventually found work at a bookstore and then stepped into acting, too. He later ventured into writing and penned some of the most loved plays of his time, such as The Pastor of Kirchfeld.

 21 

Robert Hamerling
1
Birthdate: March 24, 1830
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kirchberg am Walde, Austria
Died: July 13, 1889

Robert Hamerling was born into poverty but secured a place at the University of Vienna with financial assistance from people who were impressed by his talent in poetry. He is best remembered for his poems such as A Swan Song of the Romantic and Ahasuerus in Rome.

 22 

Anton Wildgans
0
Birthdate: April 17, 1881
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: May 3, 1932

Four-time Nobel Prize in Literature nominee Anton Wildgans had worked as a magistrate before taking up writing as a full-time profession. A major figure of German Expressionism, he is remembered for his poems and plays such as Herbstfrühling and Armut, and also showcased realism and neo-romanticism in his works.

 23 

Eduard von Bauernfeld
0
Birthdate: January 13, 1802
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: August 9, 1890

Known for his politically oriented satirizes, Eduard von Bauernfeld was an Austrian dramatist, poet and novella writer, who dominated the Vienna Burgtheater for half a century. Trained in jurisprudence, he began his life as government servant. Later on he devoting himself to writing, penning down successful works like Das Liebes-Protokoll, Die Bekenntnisse, Bürgerlich und romantisch, Grossjährig, Krisen , and Aus der Gesellschaft.