A new official biography of former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has been mocked as “50ShadesofKurz” for its fawning style.
The biography of Kurz, who was ousted from power in May after scandal engulfed his coalition partner, has been widely mocked for its positive coverage of his life and career and a prose style usually found in romance novels.
The book, which was released in Austria last week, was written by Austrian journalist Judith Grohmann and contains claims such as Kurz already being able to run at ten months and being able to speak from the age of one.
"Most of the reactions to the book since publication have been consistently positive," Grohmann told Euronews when asked about the criticism.
"The critics come from other political camps. You have to live with them. The Hashtag #50ShadesOfKurz made me smile," she added.
The journalist said the backdrop of Austria's parliamentary election on September 29 was the reason for some wanting to "devalue the book and also the former chancellor".
"It is September and we are in the middle of an election campaign in Austria — Sebastian Kurz is the top candidate of the strongest party," she said. "This also results in an attempt to disavow my true biography."
Grohmann said that the decision to label the book the former chancellor's official biography came from Kurz, adding he was closely involved in the writing process.
"That's why I got access to his family, his closest staff and his long-time companions," she said.
It also described the first time she saw Kurz: “At first I only saw a silhouette. 'Is it really him?' I thought to myself. I only saw a part of a head, but it looked familiar to me. These dark brown hairs, which were combed strictly to the back, and the small, pointed nose, which laughed out of his face.”
Many compared it to the very successful but widely-panned erotic novel written by E.L. James “Fifty Shades of Grey” on social media, creating parodies of the prose.
One tweeted: “He looked at me. The Austrian flag was reflected in his eyes, gently blowing in the patriotic wind on the first of May. 'Hey, baby,' he said, his voice lower than the Traunsee. 'Should I still come up...close your Balkan route?' #50shadesofkurz”
Another said: "He asked me into his study, but he had to show me something first.
He went to his desk, opened the 3rd drawer and took something out.
What awaits me now?
"I have a special desire," he said, showing me his election program. #50shadesofkurz”
Writing on her website, Grohman said Kurz had approached her after a Council of Minister summit in Brussels in December
There have also been questions raised about Grohman’s background. Her website says she became the Managing Editor of leading Austrian magazine Profil when she was 17 in the 1980s but the company says they had no record of her ever working at that level. They said she worked for Profil briefly in 1985 but not as an editor.
In a description of the book on her website, she says: “I have accompanied Sebastian Kurz intensively over the years as a journalist.
“In this authorised biography, I describe the path of the political careerist to power, analyse his attitude towards the FPÖ and shed light on his position within the EU and world politics.”
She says the book is an “intensively researched biography about a politically exceptional talent” which will look at what Kurz does as he tries to get back into power in the election later this month.