German Buch News: International Lit Prize Shortlist; Youths Spurn Bookselling

In German Buch News, News by Siobhan O'Leary

By Siobhan O’Leary


Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt has announced the shortlist for its first ever “International Literature Prize”, which will be awarded on September 30th, BuchMarkt reports. The list includes works that have been translated into German from English, Persian, and Spanish and includes Daniel Alarcón’s Lost City Radio (originally published by HarperCollins US), DeNiro’s Game by Rawi Hage (published by Anansi in Canada), TheLazarus Project by Alexander Hemon (Riverhead, USA), The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu (Riverhead Books, USA) and Sawal-e Colonel by Mahmud Doulatabadi (originally published in Persian, and Des veces junio by Martin Kohan (Editorial Sudamericana).

The Boersenblatt features an editorial bemoaning the fact that young people no longer want to become booksellers. Those with the brains and the disposition for the job are being scared off by the sense that the profession is dying, boring, and underpaid (well, a case could be made for the last of those three). As the piece points out, when society is ready to turn books into an “endangered species”, it then makes sense that young job seekers will not unreasonably turn to other professions. Changing this perception will require a considerable amount of work on the part of the Börsenverein — the German Publishers and Booksellers Association — particularly as retailers themselves are cutting back on training.

About the Author

Siobhan O'Leary

Siobhan O’Leary is a literary agent, translator and writer based in Berlin. She previously worked in the Foreign Rights department of the Crown Publishing Group (Random House) and at the publishing consulting firm Market Partners International.