By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
‘The Idea of Europe Is Always at Stake’Naming the best German-language novel of the year, the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels’ (German Publishers and Booksellers Association) German Book Prize shortlist has been announced.
Carrying a purse of €25,000 (US$29,800), the award is announced on October 9, the start of the week for Frankfurt Book Fair (October 11-15) and also includes €2,500 for each of the five finalists not named the winner.
The six authors and their titles named to the shortlist, all published this year, are:
- Gerhard Falkner: Romeo oder Julia (Berlin Verlag, September)
- Franzobel: Das Floß der Medusa (Paul Zsolnay, January)
- Thomas Lehr: Schlafende Sonne (Carl Hanser, August)
- Robert Menasse: Die Hauptstadt (Suhrkamp, September)
- Marion Poschmann: Die Kieferninseln (Suhrkamp, September)
- Sasha Marianna Salzmann: Außer sich (Suhrkamp, September)
In a prepared statement, jury spokeswoman Katja Gasser of the Austrian public service broadcaster Österreichischer Rundfunk is quoted, saying, “In light of our mortality, we have a duty to think boldly, Imre Kertész once wrote.
“Bold thinking: that is what all of the shortlisted texts have in common–despite their many thematic and aesthetic differences. What they all share is an awareness that serious literary activity also always means breaking with prevailing systems of speech, thinking and feeling.
“What unites many of the texts thematically is the question of who ‘we’ are and who ‘we’ want to be–which also brings Europe into the picture. And, after reading the books, there can be no doubt: The idea of Europe is always at stake–today more than ever–and it is up to those of us alive now to act responsibly, which also means acting boldly.”
Gasser’s associates on the jury are Silke Behl (Radio Bremen); Mara Delius (Die Welt); Christian Dunker (autorenbuchhandlung Berlin); Maria Gazzetti (Casa di Goethe, Rome); Tobias Lehmkuhl (independent critic, Berlin); and Lothar Schröder (Rheinische Post).
Starting on September 27, the New Books in German will feature English translations of excerpts from the shortlisted titles, along with an English-language commentary about the shortlist.
A group of selected “book prize bloggers” are to present the nominated titles, as well, at the prize’s blog site. After reading the 20 books on the longlist, the bloggers discuss them and provide background information and contributions for critical debate.
These blogs will also all be presented together on the Facebook page of the German Book Prize and under the hashtag #dpb17.