Posted on April 1, 2021 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

It’s unclear what role, if any, the German novelist Irmgard Keun played in a false report about her suicide.

But even if it was an innocent journalistic mistake, making it not exactly themed to April Fools’ Day, Keun’s story is one worth telling.

Smithsonian magazine reported, earlier this year, on Keun’s rise, fall, and rebirth.

Her first two novels sold well, but not all of the attention they drew was positive: the Nazis, firmly in control of Germany as Keun’s writing career took off, blacklisted her.

Keun fled Germany and continued publishing in exile, though to a much smaller audience.

Once rumors of her suicide emerged, though, Keun found forged papers and slipped back into Germany — where she lived the rest of her life — under the name Charlotte Tralow.

You can read about Keun’s disappearance and reappearance in Smithsonian magazine, or if you prefer more traditional April Fools’ Day fare, Literary Hub shared eleven epic literary hoaxes from across time.

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