Monday, 1 September 2014

Hotlist Shortlist Announced for 2014

OK, they may have the world's dumbest ever name for an award, but the German indie publishers' Hotlist does everything else right. Today they announced their, erm, shortlist of ten, which is what they call the Hotlist. I love the way the headline proclaims confidently: Here are the ten best books of 2014!

They're books brought out by independent publishers, which means they are much more niche than the German Book Prize titles, as a rule. And the website features simple links to sample chapters from each book so that you can dip in. Here's the list with a tiny bit of extra information from me. This time I've included a line about the publishers because I think that's kind of interesting. The winning publisher (not the winning book) gets €5000 and there's also a second prize, a €4000 printing voucher. And hey, kids – the announcement happens at a party at the Frankfurt Book Fair on the 10th of October, and anyone can go along, and I am definitely going to. I really loved the last one I got to go to, in 2012.

Arco Verlag: James Hanley: Fearon
An English novel scandalized on original publication (as Boy, 1931) for its depictions of homosexuality. Translated by the writer and award-winning translator Joachim Kalka. The publishing house is based in Vienna, named after a Prague literary café, and has a focus on exiled writers and writers from Central Europe.
AvivA Verlag: Lili Grün: Mädchenhimmel!
Poems and short stories by a lesser-known woman writer in 1930s Berlin, whose work has been compared to Irmgard Keun and Kurt Tucholsky. The Berlin publisher specializes in rediscovering women writers.  
binooki: Emrah Serbes: junge verlierer
Contemporary short stories about boys translated from Turkish by my friend Oliver Kontny, theatre person and translator. binooki is a fairly new house set up by two sisters to publish translations of Turkish literature beyond the usual stereotypes.  
Droschl: Lydia Davis: Kanns nicht und wills nicht
Davis's Can't and Won't, short stories translated by the Austrian writer and translator Klaus Hoffer. Fun fact: my friend Isabel Cole is translating Klaus Hoffer's Bei den Bieresch for Seagull Books. The publisher is very literary indeed, based in Graz, Austria, and has a lot of highbrow gems and translations on its lists.
Eichenspinner Verlag: Günter Saalmann: Fiedlerin auf dem Dach
A novel by an award-winning YA author (and trombonist) about a Kazakh family with a violinist daughter who move to Germany. I find this interesting because YA authors often feel more comfortable assuming "ethnic drag" than other writers – perhaps because they're used to speaking in children's voices already? A teeny-tiny Chemnitz publishing house bringing out poetry, prose and rock music by four German writers and a two-man band.

Krug & Schadenberg: Emma Donoghue: Zarte Landung
Irishwoman-in-Canada Donoghue's novel Landing, translated by Adele Marx. The Berlin-based publisher does fiction, non-fiction and comics about all aspects of lesbian life.     
Lars Müller Publishers: Andri Pol: Menschen am CERN
Possibly the most unexpected book to find on a list like this, ever, this is a collection of photos of people who work in Switzerland's European Organization for Nuclear Research, accompanied by an essay by Swiss writer Peter Stamm. It can't possibly win though because Peter Stamm never wins anything, ever. The Zurich publishing house does beautiful books exclusively for the eyes.  
Reprodukt: Mawil: Kinderland
A graphic novel about a schoolboy in East Berlin, October 1989. I like the pictures a lot. Reprodukt publish graphic novels and comics for all ages out of Berlin-Wedding (including Tove Jansson), and may well be the coolest people in the world.  
Verbrecher Verlag: Sarah Schmidt: Eine Tonne für Frau Scholz
One of those novels I keep meaning to read because all the cool kids love it so, an amusing-yet-earnest family story set in the last unposh house in the hood. The Verbrecher Verlag are just all-round lovely and have the world's best logo, some top-class fiction authors including David Wagner and Nino Haratischwili, and a lot of interesting political and pop-cultural stuff too.  
Weidle Verlag: Carl Nixon: Settlers Creek 
Nixon's 2010 novel about the financial crisis and a family crisis in New Zealand, translated by the publisher Stefan Weidle. Who also named his publishing house after himself, it would appear. Originally concentrating on 1920s and 1930s writing, they now also do translations of contemporary fiction from far-flung places – and won last year's Hotlist prize for a rediscovered Russian book. 

1 comment:

Helen MacCormac said...

Love the diversity - photos, graphic novels, ordinary novels and quite a few short story collections. But I do have one slight niggle: Peter Stamm did actully win the Friedrich-Hölderlin-Preis 2014 which is worth a not-to-be-ignored 20,000 Euros, I think.