They've announced the shortlists for the three prizes awarded at the Leipzig Book Fair. The non-fiction list looks a little dry and male, except that one of the authors is rather attractive and another one is Rainer Stach with his latest Kafka book, so obviously that one will win. The translation list is interesting in that there are no books translated from English on it, and it varies from Lucretius to Modiano to the Swedish children's classic The Wonderful Adventures of Nils Holgersson.
And here's the fiction shortlist:
Ursula Ackrill: Zeiden, im Januar
A short novel set in Siebenbürgen, one of the German-speaking enclaves in Rumania but not the one Herta Müller comes from, during 1941. Rather fabulously, the author is a librarian in Nottingham and wrote her PhD on Christa Wolf. If ever there was a book to get picked up by British publishers, this is it. I'm glad the nomination has called attention to it because I for one wouldn't have noticed it otherwise. I shall be reading it.
Teresa Präauer: Johnny und Jean
You already know I love this book. I'm ecstatic to see it nominated.
Norbert Scheuer: Die Sprache der Vögel
This seems to be a novel about birdwatching in Afghanistan. I suspect it's less lightweight than Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.
Jan Wagner: Regentonnenvariationen
Surprise of the year, so far – a poetry collection shortlisted for a fiction prize! Jan Wagner is one of the German poets I can get my head around, so this makes me happy too.
Michael Wildenhain: Das Lächeln der Alligatoren
I like Wildenhain's writing a lot. He very precisely conjures up West Berlin in the seventies and earlier, a time that was very exciting and hasn't been written about as much as it could be. This new novel is set elsewhere but I suspect in the same sort of world, and I'm looking forward to reading it. I'm expecting it to be a literary confirmation that the personal is political.
Well, I don't know about you but I'm quite pleased and excited about this list.