Rebellion & resilience

What happens when a retired conservative political leader sits down with an especially loud opponent of any kind of rightist tendencies?

Former provincial governor Erwin Pröll has – to the surprise of many – befriended Peter Turrini after the writer moved to Lower Austria. Now journalist Herbert Lackner turned a series of conversations between the infamously powerful ÖVP politician and the author of contested plays like “Rozznjogd” into a book.

In “Zwei Lebenswege. Eine Debatte”, Pröll and Turrini reflect on growing up on the countryside and early political influences. While Turrini always felt like an outcast, Pröll quickly became a vital part of the local community as he enjoyed participating in traditional festivities but also agricultural work and the grape harvest.1

Speaking to Lackner and Pröll, Turrini – who settled in remote northern Lower Austria after feeling uncomfortable in buzzing Vienna – looks back on a hilarious encounter with a policeman at Vienna’s Burgtheater. The playwright also discloses why he rejected a decoration he was set to receive from late far-right Carinthian governor Jörg Haider. Pröll meanwhile looks back on the role he played in the formation of Austria’s first FPÖ-ÖVP coalition.

It soon becomes clear that Turrini, Pröll and Lackner are on the same wavelength. Nevertheless, Turrini is relentless when it comes to discussing controversial political topics. Unfortunately Pröll remains vague and highly careful.

Zwei Lebenswege. Eine Debatte
By Herbert Lackner
Published by Ueberreuter (

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