Novels Shortlisted for German Book Prize Profiled in English
Enlarge image Six novels are on the short list for the German Book Prize 2012. (© picture alliance / dpa) The German Book Prize, considered one of the leading awards for novels written in German, will be announced on October 8 at the start of the Frankfurt Book Fair. This year for the first time, the German Book Prize has partnered with New Books in German, a twice yearly journal for the English-language publishing and academic worlds, to offer exclusive translations of excerpts from the six titles on the short list, synopses of the novels, as well as author profiles.
Here are the six titles on the short list for the 2012 award, with excerpts of the synopses from New Books in German.
- Robinsons blaues Haus (Robinson’s Blue House) by Ernst Augustin, publisher C.H.Beck: “This is a fable about the last Robinson in a world of possibilities that no longer exist. It takes place in Germany, in the South Seas, in a London jail, in a house of mirrors at the top of the Wyman Tower.”
- Sand (Sand) by Wolfgang Herrndorf, publisher Rowohlt Berlin: “Set in an imaginary country in North Africa, sometime during the Seventies, the novel [is] populated by colourful figures with wacky names, who talk like B movie characters and seem taken straight from films and genre fiction.”
- Landgericht (Court of Justice) by Ursula Krechel, publisher Jung & Jung: “What fears, what hopes can anyone have who returns from his exile to Germany in 1947?”
- Indigo (Indigo) by Clemens J. Setz, publisher Suhrkamp: “In the northern part of Styria, Austria, lies Helianau, a boarding school for children suffering from a mysterious condition known as indigo syndrome.”
- Fliehkräfte (Centrifugal Forces), by Stephan Thome, publisher Suhrkamp: “Hartmut Hainbach is in his late fifties and has achieved everything he ever wished for: he is professor of philosophy and married to his dream woman, whom he still loves after twenty years of marriage. And yet Hartmut is not content.”
- Nichts Weisses (Nothing White), by Ulf Erdmann Ziegler, publisher Suhrkamp: “This is the story of Marleen, who falls in love with the world of letters before she has even learnt to read.”
Enlarge image (© picture alliance / dpa) The German Book Prize, created in 2005, is an annual award from the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels Stiftung – the Foundation of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association. “The Prize is intended to draw attention beyond national borders to authors writing in German, to reading and to the keynote medium of the book,” according to the prize website. The winner receives 25,000 euros, the other five shortlisted authors receive 2,500 euros each.
Of the winning titles since 2005, according to New Books in German, three have been published in English and a fourth will be published next year: Arno Geiger’s We Are Doing Fine (Ariadne Press 2010), Katharina Hacker’s The Have-Nots (Europa Editions 2008) and Julia Franck’s The Blind Side of the Heart (Harvill 2009). The 2011 winner, In Zeiten des Abnehmenden Lichts by Eugen Ruge, has been widely acclaimed and will be published in English in 2013 (Faber, translated by Anthea Bell).