Establish by author Günther Grass in 1979, the Alfred Döblin Prize counts Natascha Wodin (2015) and María Cecilia Barbetta (2017) among its recipients and comes with a prize money of 15.000 for the best (yet) unpublished manuscript. Berlin-based author Ulrich Woelk , whose earlier books were translated into several languages, wins this year’s award for his text „Für ein Leben“ while his latest novel was only published this spring by C. H. Beck :

“THE SUMMER OF MY MOTHER” brings us to the summer of 1969 in Cologne: While Armstrong and Aldrin are preparing to set foot on the moon, a left-wing family moves in, triggering erotic experiences for both Tobias and his mother. Ulrich Woelk tells the thrilling, atmospheric and heart-breaking story of (new) personal and political beginnings that end tragically. It already got very nice reviews!

Summer 1969, Cologne: In the city streets, people protests against the Vietnam War, while in a suburb, eleven year old Tobias excitedly looks forward to the moon landing. At the same time, his parents’ harmonious marriage is beginning to show cracks. His mother feels trapped. Next door, a politically active, left-wing couple moves in. Things begin to unravel. Tobias’s conservative parents become friends with the new neighbours. Their thirteen year old daughter Rosa, wayward and clever, teaches Tobias not only pop music and literature, but also how to feel things nearly as thrilling as space travel. The two families spend a lot of time with each other, and reciprocal attractions grow: ‘Elective Affinities’ at the Rhine. And while Armstrong and Aldrin are preparing to set foot on the moon, both Tobias and his mother experience an erotic initiation…

Ulrich Woelk tells the thrilling, atmospheric and heart-breaking story of new personal and political beginnings that end tragically.

Ulrich Woelk’s writing is great prose, entirely of the moment: curt, laconic, staccato.’ Süddeutsche Zeitung