Barbara Köhler was born in Burgstädt, in former East Germany, on April 11, 1959 and grew up in Penig. After leaving school, she spent some time working in the textile manufacturing industry in Plauen, in a care home for the elderly, and as a lighting assistant in the city theatre in Karl Marx Stadt (now Chemnitz). From 1985 to 1988 she studied at the Johannes R. Becher Literature Institute in Leipzig and began publishing work in magazines. After the fall of the Wall, her debut collection, Deutsches Roulette (German Roulette), was published in 1991 by Suhrkamp Verlag. It was followed by many more, including the poetry collection Blue Box (1995) and Wittgensteins Nichte (Wittgenstein’s Niece; 1999).