Monday, 10 October 2011

German Book Prize 2011 to Eugen Ruge

Congratulations to Eugen Ruge, who has just been awarded the German Book Prize for In Zeiten des abnehmenden Lichts. You can read my review here, and you'll guess that I'm pleased with the choice. He's just giving a rather shy speech, telling us he was too superstitious to prepare anything.

Rebecca Morrison writes of the novel in the most recent TLS (not available online): "In straight-forward, satisfying prose, this novel of belief in, and disillusionment with, Communism illuminates and packs a punch of authenticity."

English world rights have been sold and a translator found, as there was a great deal of justified buzz about the book before it even came out. No surprise, perhaps, after Ruge won the very prestigious Döblin Prize for the manuscript two years ago. And yet the novel is probably the most accessible of those on the shortlist. Booksellers were very concerned that the jury had gone all literary since there was no bookseller among the judges this year. I don't know why that was; all I do know is that the Goethe Institut's Clemens-Peter Haase, Head of Literary and Translation Promotion, sadly died in July and the jury was reduced to six members. You can read an obituary here.

I'd like to add that although it's always sad that not every book can win the award, the shortlisted authors do all get a bit of pocket money and a major boost to sales through the publicity.

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