The Swiss booksellers' and publishers' association and the Basel Literature Festival have launched a new book prize for the best Swiss fiction or essay title of the year. The award is open to Swiss authors or writers who have been living in Switzerland for at least two years, and interestingly enough the books have to have been written in German (although Switzerland also has French, Italian and Rheto-Romansh as its official languages). It's called the Swiss Book Prize (can you feel how hard that opening challenge is yet?) and the five shortlisted titles were announced last week. Here's the list:
Lukas Bärfuss Hundert Tage (Wallstein)
Anja Jardine Als der Mond vom Himmel fiel (Kein & Aber)
Rolf Lappert Nach Hause schwimmen (Carl Hanser)
Adolf Muschg Kinderhochzeit (Suhrkamp)
Peter Stamm Wir fliegen (S. Fischer)Regular readers will be familiar with two titles from another list (still doing well, eh?): Bärfuss's amazing Rwandan J'accuse Hundert Tage and Rolf Lappert's Swimming Home, apparently the booksellers' favourite this year. Two of the other titles are collections of short stories, an interesting departure. But the Leipzig Book Fair prize went to short stories this year and last, so who knows which book will win. No essays actually in the running though.
The results will be announced on 16 November at the Basel Literature Festival.
Phew, I can't believe I managed to skirt the whole German Book Prize bandwagon issue!