Nannerl Mozart in Literature

In 1996, a teen novel entitled The Secret Wish of Nannerl Mozart, by Canadian poet Barbara Kathleen Nickel, was first published (by Sumach Press). And what could the girl’s secret wish be? None other than to become the greatest composer in the world! The novel is based on careful historical research and the appendix contains a timeline, a glossary and a bibliography. The story begins at a time immediately prior to the Mozart family’s departure for the extensive European tour they made between 1763 and 1766, and ends with an imaginary, triumphant concert written by Nannerl and performed by Wolfgang, together with a small group of musician friends — and with Nannerl herself on the violin.

Nannerl also inspired the American poet Sharon Chmielarz, author of the poetry collection The Other Mozart (published in 2001 by Ontario Review Press). This biography in verse covers Nannerl’s life from the time she was a child prodigy to her death as Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia von Berchtold zu Sonnenburg, née Mozart.

In 2005 Alison Bauld, an Australian composer, published the first novel entitled Mozart’s Sister (Alcina Press). The book stems from an article that the author herself had written for the newspaper “The Independent” — a touching conversation between an elderly Nannerl, almost blind and paralyzed, and her nephew Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart.

The following year, Mozart’s Sister by Nancy Moser was published (formerly Bethany House, now Mustard Seed Press). The author has written over twenty novels and is also a musician; she claims to have played her first Mozart piece on the piano at the age of nine. The novel is the first of a series called Ladies of History.

You may find information on my novel Mozart’s Sister in this section of the website.

To conclude (at least for the moment), in 2008 Harcourt Children’s Books published the novel In Mozart’s Shadow: His Sister’s Story by Carolyn Meyer, prominent author of children’s and teen literature. The book tells the story of Nannerl’s undying passion for music, delves into the relationship with her “miracle boy” brother, and overall discloses her life as the “other Mozart” — the one forgotten by history.