Shortlist German Book Award 2022

If the winner of the German Book Award 2022 is the 3rd time in a row a schøne book there will be champagne in Frankfurt! These are the 4 candidates on the shortlist this year:

Daniela Dröscher, LIES ABOUT MY MOTHER, Kiepenheuer & Witsch, August

Dröscher writes about growing up in a family where one topic dominates everything: her mother’s body weight. Is this beautiful, headstrong, unpredictable woman too fat? Does she urgently need to lose weight? Yes, she does – her husband decides. A decision the mother is subjected to, day after day.

  • a SPIEGEL bestseller and this week’s #15
  • recommended by New Books in German (fall 2022)
  • English sample translation available

Fatma Aydemir, JINNS, Hanser Verlag, February

Hüseyin has spent the past thirty years working in Germany, and now his biggest dream has finally come true: he’s bought his very own flat in Istanbul – but he promptly dies of a heart attack on the day he moves in. Instead of a family reunion, the family comes together in Istanbul to prepare a funeral. Fatma Aydemir’s epic social novel tells the stories of six characters who could not be more different from each other, and yet all happen to be related – and of their insatiable desire to be understood.

  • a SPIEGEL bestseller
  • recommended by New Books in German (spring 2022)
  • English sample translation available
  • rights sold to Denmark (Politikens Forlag), The Netherlands (Signatuur), NEW World English (Wisconsin UP), NEW Poland (Cyranka)

Jan Faktor, SIMPLETON, Kiepenheuer & Witsch, SeptemberTragedy and comedy are two sides of the same coin here: The simpleton’s story begins in Prague, after the Soviet invasion. He has his first grotesque romantic experiences, gets bored in an office for statistics about lies, and finally delivers army bread rolls. He “emigrates” to East Berlin, immerses himself in the weird, political underground scene in Prenzlauer Berg, is surprised by the “ideologically morphinized” GDR and the events around the fall of the Berlin Wall, and finally discovers his passion for the band Rammstein. From the beginning, this retrospect is also shot through with darkness: the trace of the son who chooses suicide at the age of 33, and whose early death will make everything become unhinged.

  • shortlisted for the Wilhelm-Raabe-Literature Award 2022
  • nominated for the German Book Award 2010 for GEORG’S CONCERN ABOUT THE PAST
  • English sample translation available

Kim de l’Horizon, BLOODBOOK, Dumont, July

The book’s unnamed protagonist, who feels neither male nor female, is prompted by their grandmother’s slide into dementia to investigate their family history. The more their grandmother forgets, the more the narrator tries to remember: what was it in their childhood that prompted them to feel so alienated from their body? Does it have something to do with the family’s hushed-up history of incest? Why is their grandmother struggling to differentiate between herself and her sister who died young? And what happened to their youngest great aunt who disappeared when she was young? Tracking down answers to these questions proves difficult because the family has a habit of keeping quiet about such matters. At the heart of it all is the question of self-determination: how to exist when your own body is never a given, but is instead constantly having to be negotiated?

  • winner of the Jürgen Ponto Prize 2022 for Young Authors
  • English sample translation available

Winner of the German Book Award 2021Antje Rávik Strubel, BLUE WOMAN, S. Fischer

Adina grew up as the last teenager in her village in the Czech Giant Mountains. While attending a language course in Berlin, she meets a photographer named Rickie, who gets her an internship in an arts center in the Uckermark. After being raped by a West German cultural politician, she sets out on an odyssey that takes her across half of Europe. In the end, Adina is stranded in Helsinki where Leonides, an Estonian politician and member of the European parliament, becomes her emotional anchor. While he campaigns for human rights, Adina seeks a way out of her inner exile.

  • winner of the German Book Award 2021
  • translator of works by Joan Didion, Lucia Berlin and Virginia Woolf
  • rights sold to France (Les Escales), Finland (Minerva Kustannus), Hungary (Ljevak), Italy (Voland)

Winner of the German Book Award 2020Anne Weber, ANNETTE. AN EPIC HEROINE, Matthes & Seitz Berlin

The incredible life of a true heroe of the 20th century: Born in 1923 in Brittany, member of the communist youth organisation 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 governement before fleeing again to Switzerland this time where she works as a neurologist.

  • winner of the German Book Award 2020
  • winner of the Premio Strega Europeo 2021
  • French text available
  • Danish translation (Forlaget Grif) available
  • rights sold to Brazil, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, USA, Egypt, Denmark, Croatia, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy