Born in Munich in 1906, Klaus Mann was the second child of the acclaimed writer Thomas Mann and his wife Katia. He began writing short stories in 1924 and in the year following became a drama critic for a Berlin newspaper. 1925 saw the publication of his first literary works, a volume of short stories and a novel The Pious Dance.
Mann’s early life was troubled and he had a difficult relationship with his father. Along with his sister Erika, who was in the cast of his first play Anja and Esther, he travelled round the world and visited the United States of America in 1927. Mann left Germany in 1933, relocating to Holland. He became a Czechoslovakian citizen, having been stripped of his German citizenship by the Nazi regime. In 1936 he published his most famous novel Mephisto and moved to the United States, living in Princeton, New Jersey, and New York. In 1943 he became a US citizen.
He died in Cannes aged forty-two from an overdose of sleeping pills. He was buried there in the Cimetière du Grand Jas.