German Book Award 2020 – Shortlist

We are delighted to share the great news with you that Dorothee Elmiger, Thomas Hettche and Anne Weber are shortlisted for this year’s German Book Award.

Dorothee Elmiger, OUT OF THE SUGAR FACTORY (Hanser) – the recipient of the Swiss Literature Prize 2015 and the shortlist nominee for the Swiss Book Award 2014 on the trail of capital, labour and lust. If the connections between world events should suddenly be wiped out, we would be grateful to find Dorothee Elmiger’s book to help us understand what happened in the past. Its subject: the cycles of capital, labour and lust. Its form: a journal full of observations, surveys and investigations.

„My skills never end“ is the slogan on the T-shirt of a worker receiving his wages. Switzerland’s first lottery millionaire stands on the beach of a Caribbean island looking out to sea. At night, goats crowd around the writer’s bed. Dorothee Elmiger tracks down money and desire through the centuries and the world. She writes biographies of mystics, the insatiable, gamblers, orgiasts and colonialists, studies the routes of ships on the Atlantic, records dreams and cases of ecstasy and madness. Out of the Sugar Factory documents this research in a text that opens our eyes to the complexity of the world. | rights sold to Sweden (Nirstedt)

Thomas Hettche, HEARTSTRING (Kiepenheuer & Witsch) – During a visit to a puppet theater with her father, shortly after her parents have split up, a 12-year-old girl discovers a small wooden door in the foyer, opens it, and, like Alice in Wonderland, finds herself in a fairyland full of old familiars including Hansel und Gretel, the Little Prince, and many others.

But, most importantly, she meets Hatü here – the woman who once created all these marionettes and who has a big story to tell: The story of a magical theater that was founded during the darkest period of Germany’s history, that offered new hope to old and young spectators when it was reborn after the war, and that still exists in Augsburg today. From her childhood during the War, her youth between ruins with the newly awakening art and music scene, friendships and loves to the grown-up life with kids – Hatü takes her visitor with her through important stages of her life that was always affected by her enthusiasm for the puppet theater. Her great goal was to combine the old tradition of puppet theater with new, contemporary content (she was the first worldwide that brought the Little Prince to the stage) and thus bring people joy and inspiration similarly. | rights sold to France (Édition du Seuil)

Anne Weber, EPIC ANNETTE (Matthes & Seitz Berlin) – a lyrical approach to the incredible life of a true hero of the 20th century. What a life! Born in 1923 in Brittany, member of the communist youth organization and of the résistance during the Second World War, Annette de Beaumanoir saved two Jewish kids and received from Yad Vashem the distinction of the „Righteous Among the Nations“. Because of her participation in the Algerian war, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison. She broke free after an incredible escape, was part of the Ben Bella government before fleeing again to Switzerland this time where she works as a neurologist. The epic life of Anne Beaumanoir is brilliantly told by the French-German author Anne Weber and gives the reader the reassurance that true heroes still exist. | rights sold to France (Édition du Seuil)