They've announced the ten titles in the running for the German-language independent book award by the name of Hotlist 2012. The name doesn't make sense, of course, but is presumably the result of the award originally being a kind of last-minute idea by twenty indie publishers who didn't spend hours and hours haggling over whether the name made sense. It's a hot list of books, and that's that.
The books are:
Jeffrey Yang: Ein Aquarium. Berenberg Verlag, tr. Beatrice Faßbender. American poems.
Miklós Vajda: Mutter im amerikanischen Rahmen. Braumüller Verlag, tr. Timea Tankó. Hungarian mother-son novel.
Angelika Meier: Heimlich, heimlich mich vergiss. Diaphenes Verlag. Rather bizarre German novel about a remote mountain psychiatric clinic, I believe. Ring any bells?
Tor Ulven: Dunkelheit am Ende des Tunnels. Droschl Verlag, tr. Bernhard Strobel. Dark Norwegian short stories.
Michèle Roten: Wie Frau sein. Echtzeit Verlag. I think this is non-fiction, looking at the state of feminism in real life.
Lukas Meschik. Luzidin oder die Stille. Jung und Jung Verlag. Austrian meta-novel.
Peter Gizzi. totsein ist gut in amerika. Luxbooks, tr. Sylvia Geist, Simone Kornappel, Christian Lux, Daniela Seel, Jan Skudlarek, Andreas Bülhoff. More American poems, this time lower-case.
Robert Louis Stevenson: Der Pirat und der Apotheker. Peter Hammer Verlag, tr./ill. Henning Wagenbreth. Illustrated Scottish ballads.
Tamta Melaschwili: Abzählen. Unionsverlag. Three days of three children in a war zone.
Helon Habila: Öl aufs Wasser. Verlag Das Wunderhorn, tr. Thomas Brückner. Nigerian thriller/love story/utopian/dystopian novel.
Is that an eclectic list or what? It certainly reflects the cornucopia that is German/Austrian/Swiss independent publishing. Lots of translation, lots of experimentation, lots of beautifully made books.
My concern, however, is that I can't find any information about the prize money and who it goes to on either of the two Hotlist websites. Perhaps I'm being particularly dense at the moment, but it's unclear to me whether the money (and how much of it) goes to the publishing houses, the writers and/or the translators. And I think that ought to be made clearer.
The prizewinning book will be selected by a jury and announced at a flashy awards ceremony on 12 October at the Frankfurt Literaturhaus. Which is a good venue - not like last year's fiasco. And it would appear we will be spared the honour of Jakob Augstein presenting the event, after three years of agony. To be followed by dancing. What larks.
Update: Many thanks to Beatrice Faßbender, who kindly cleared up my confusion over the prize money in the comments section. It's €5000 and goes to the publishers.