Born in Berlin on 14 December 1927, the son of Georgian émigrés

1934 to 1939 primary school in Wilmersdorf, Berlin; from 1939 to 1942 he attended his first grammar school, the Humanistisches Fichte Gymnasium in Wilmersdorf, followed from 1942 to 1945 by the Moltke Realgymnasium in nearby Charlottenburg. Air raids forced the school to evacuate from spring 43 to autumn 44 to a camp at Jarotschin (Jarocin) near Posen, (now PoznaƄ in Poland).

1945 to 1946 Humanistisches Bismarck Gymnasium, the final grammar school

Late February 46 abducted in West Berlin by the Soviet secret service (NKVD) and taken through the Brandenburg Gate to the East Sector together with his father, who was deported to Moscow after their last night together and shot

February 46 to April spent in the cellars of a Soviet military HQ in Weissensee (East Berlin) and a transit camp

1946 to autumn 1947 in the Soviet concentration camp at Sachsenhausen

Autumn 1947 deported to Georgia and billeted with relatives by order of the NKVD

1947 to 1952 studied German

1952 to 1954 interruption

1954 to 1957 postgraduate studies at the German Institute

1957 to 1970 taught German at the Institute of Foreign Languages

1967 meeting with Heinrich Böll

1969 first journey to Germany (GDR) as an interpreter for the Rustaveli Theatre; visited Wolf Biermann at 131 Chausseestrasse

1970 to 1980 married to the German scholar and writer Naira Gelashvili

1971 appointed to the Institute of Philosophy at the Georgian Academy of Sciences

1975 birth of his daughter Anna

since 1983 friendship with the East Berlin writer Ekkehard Maass

since 1989 regular visits to Germany; contact through Maass with the writers and artists of Prenzlauer Berg and authors like Andrei Bitov, Bulat Okudzhava, Chingiz Aitmatov, Allen Ginsburg and Ernst Jandl

1990/91 grants from the DAAD and Heinrich Böll Foundation

1991 to 1993 six books published in Germany with reading tours throughout the country

since 1993 permanent residence in Berlin

December 1994 German naturalisation, President’s Honorary Fellowship

1995 resident writer in Rheinsberg; results in “Der Kantakt” (Cantact)

1996 Poetry Lecture in Bamberg

1997 Goetheinstitut trip to the United States

2007 – 2014 “Officer Pembry” published by Verbrecher Verlag, Berlin, and "Zuschauerräume", "Vom Tod eines alten Lesers", "Der Kantakt", "Der verwunderte Mauerzeitungsleser", "Kapitän Wakusch", volumes 1 and 2, "Die Fluchtästhetische Novelle", "Verfasserunser" and "das Leseleben"

since November 2011 permanent residence in Tbilissi, Georgia


1995 Literature Prize of Brandenburg State

1997 Literature Fellowship from Berlin Art Prize Foundation

1998 Honorary Ph.D. from Tbilissi State University

2002 Gustav Regler Prize awarded by the town of Merzig

2006 award of the Goethe Medal in Weimar

2008 award of the Bundesverdienstkreuz - Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany

2013 award of the Georgian German Cultural Award, subsequently named after him

2013 award of the Italo Svevo Prize