Lukas Bärfuss Wins Georg Büchner Prize 2019

The Georg Büchner Prize is the most important award for literary works written in German. This year’s Büchner Prize will be awarded to Swiss author Lukas Bärfuss who described it as „feeling the kiss of an angel“ towards press upon hearing the news.

Lukas Bärfuss, born in Thun, Switzerland in 1971, is one of the most successful dramatists to emerge in recent years, and his plays are staged all over the world. Bärfuss was voted playwright of the year in the critic poll featured by the magazine „“Theater heute““ in 2005. Bärfuss was awarded the Mara-Cassens Prize, the Schiller Prize and the Erich-Maria-Remarque-Friedenspreis for One Hundred Days. He was also nominated for the German and Swiss Book Prize (Granta).

Bärfuß has received a lot of recognition for his novels ONE HUNDRED DAYS (Wallstein, 2008) and KOALA (Wallstein, 2014) as well as for his plays.

In ONE HUNDRED DAYS, Swiss aid worker David Hohl arrives in Rwanda in 1990 and wants to know what it feels like to make a difference. Instead, he finds himself among expats, living a life of postcolonial privilege and boredom, and he begins to suspect that the agency is more concerned with political expedience than improving lives. But are his own motives any more noble?When civil war breaks out and David goes into hiding, he is forced to examine his own relationship to the country he wants to help and to the cosmopolitan Rwandan woman he wants to possess. As the genocide rages over the course of one hundred desperate days, the clear line David has always drawn between idealism and complicity quickly begins to blur (English translation published by Granta Books, 2012)

»One Hundred Days is written in the spare, distilled language that befits its task, never sensational and never squeamish… It is an unflinchingly political novel that brings across its devastating message without making any narrative compromises« – Times Literary Supplement

» [A] harrowing portrayal of organised slaughter… it explores the existential dilemmas that come with being Swiss – a more interesting topic than you might imagine… Magnificent « – Glasgow Herald

»His writing is seriously good, dramatising horrific events in illuminating ways « -Independent