Author Felicitas Hoppe Wins Top German Literary Award
Berlin-based author Felicitas Hoppe will receive the renowned Georg Büchner Prize, Germany's highest literary award.
Enlarge image Felicitas Hoppe (2009) (© picture-alliance/dpa)
Hoppe was chosen because her novels and stories depict "the world of adventurers and con artists, of explorers and good-for-nothings," the jury announced on May 15.
"In a time during which speaking about oneself increasingly dominates literature, Felicitas Hoppe's sensitive and comically attuned yet melancholy style of storytelling dances around the mystery of identity," stated the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung (German Academy of Language and Literature), which selects the winner of the annual Büchner Prize.
As reported by German public broadcaster ARD, Hoppe herself was "totally surprised and overwhelmed" by the news.
"This is really a great joy and honor, but it is also a burden," she said on May 15 in Berlin. "I still need to warm up to the idea."
Through its long tradition and the big names of previous winners, the prize brings with it a particular responsibility, she underscored.
"There are now as many prizes as sand at the sea, but this is the most wonderful and prestigious literary prize in Germany," said Hoppe, who has already received many other previous literary awards.
Hoppe's publisher, the Frankfurt-based S. Fischer Verlag, was naturally also pleased.
"We have waited so long for her to finally win one of the big prizes," said book editor Oliver Vogel on May 15 in Frankfurt, adding that Hoppe was "a great and unflinching storyteller".
Hoppe will receive the prize at a ceremony next October in the German city of Darmstadt.
About the author
Enlarge image Felicitas Hoppe (2012) (© picture-alliance/dpa)
Felicitas Hoppe was born as the third of five children on December 22, 1960 in the northern German city of Hameln. She studied literature, as well as theology, Italian and Russian, in Hildesheim, Tübingen, Berlin, Rome and Eugene, Oregon. Since 1990 she has received numerous grants, and since 1996 she has lived and worked as a writer in Berlin.
Her first novel was "Picknick der Friseure" (The Hairdressers' Picnic) in 1996. To date she has written five novels, as well as essays and several volumes of stories. Her novel "Pigafetta" (1999) appeared after she traveled around the world on a cargo ship. Her latest novel, published in March, 2012, is simply called "Hoppe". It is not an autobiography, but rather a dreamed, imaginary life of the author.
ARD book expert Denis Scheck has already lavished it with high praise: "Felictas Hoppe writes the most beautiful and intelligent prose in Germany."
Many of Hoppe's works have been translated into several different languages, including English. She has served as a visiting professor in Wiesbaden, Mainz, Augsburg and Göttingen in her native Germany, as well as at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in the United States.
Enlarge image Darmstadt - Wedding Tower at Mathildenhöhe (© picture-alliance/chromorange) The Georg Büchner Prize was first awarded in 1923 by the central German state of Hesse to honor poets, composers, singers and artists based in the region. It was named after the dramatist Georg Büchner (1813-36), who died young but earned an eternal spotlight in the German-language literary canon with works such as "Danton's Death" and "Woyzeck," one of the most performed German plays.
Since 1951 the prize, which was not awarded from 1933 to 1944, has focused solely on the field of literature. In 2011, it came for the first time with a cash prize of 50,000 euros, up from 40,000 euros in previous years, and celebrated its 60th anniversary.
Past recipients of the Büchner Prize include world-renowned German writers Heinrich Böll, Max Frisch, Christa Wolf and Günter Grass.