Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Georg Büchner Prize to Rainald Goetz

Sue me – I have never read Rainald Goetz and I'm not even planning to. I think he's like Marmite; you have to have grown up with him to appreciate him. But a hell of a lot of Germans do appreciate him, and now he's won the mega-prestigious Georg Büchner Prize for his life's work. It comes with €50,000 and eternal glory. The judges said:
Rainald Goetz has described Germany's present of the past thirty years, let it come to perception and speak for itself, he has celebrated it and condemned it and analyzed it over and over by means of theory. Behind his nervous, tense willingness to gain experiences are a broad education and a sensitive awareness of history, which enable his language a balance between passionate expression, observational coolness and satirical clarity.
They're really into him, huh? But I know a lot of people (men?) who worship the guy. I once went to a reading he did where he was like, I'm going to read for ten minutes and then go out and smoke a fag on the doorstep (it was raining, I think) and then I'm going to have a rest for a while and then at half past I'll read for five minutes and then I'll have a bit of a sit down and then on the next full hour I'll read for another ten minutes, but first here's the list of ingredients on my cigarette packet. Those may not have been his exact words; it was about five years ago. But instead of totally losing patience and leaving, like I did, everyone else was hanging on his every word and had nothing they wanted to do more than spend all day waiting for the guy to read in between his extended cigarette breaks. Also I used to see him in my local supermarket before I moved house. He's quite short and likes white bread rolls.

He's written lots of novels and plays about contemporary phenomena. I think the only thing available in English is the play Jeff Koons, translated by David Tushingham.


Hannes said...

"He's quite short and likes white bread rolls."
Love this one. Especially now that he's bagged the Büchner he should just use it on his own website.

kjd said...

The more expensive kind, "Toskanabrötchen".

Richard Ullyett said...

Dear Ms. Derbyshire, Please keep up this excellent blog; it is a doorway to literature that would otherwise remain largely unknown.
I find this incredibly illuminating and stimulating.
Best regards,
Richard Ullyett
Wien & Berlin

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