Monday, 19 October 2009

Window Cleaners, Rich Kids, Dwarves - Prizes

Three big awards have gone out over the past few days. Number one, the Heinrich Maria Ledig-Rowohlt Prize for translation of English literature, went to Ulrich Blumenbach for David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. According to Börsenblatt, Blumenbach compared the work of the translator to that of a window cleaner in his acceptance speech for the €15,000 award - because books are "windows on the world". I don't know, I can't help thinking of George Formby... "for a nosy parker it's an inter-estin' job."

The exciting new would-be independent award, the Hotlist 2009, went to Alexander Schimmelbusch for Blut im Wasser, a novel about rich kids coming to terms with the finite nature of life. I missed the slightly scary-looking author's reading by a whisker in Frankfurt, but I'm sure he'll be glad of the €5000 prize money.

And then there's the Deutscher Phantastik Prize for fantasy fiction, like the Hotlist voted for by actual readers. Best German-language novel went to Markus Heitz for Das Schicksal der Zwerge, best international to Patrick Rothfuss for Der Name des Windes (trans. Jochen Schwarzer). I don't think they get any money though, just eternal glory.

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