nominated for the International Booker Prize 2023 – Clemens Meyer and WHILE WE WERE DREAMING

Clemens Meyer’s WHILE WE WERE DREAMING in English translation at Fitzcarraldo Editions was just nominated for the International Booker Prize 2023

Startlingly raw and deeply moving, this extraordinary debut novel

from one of Germany’s most ambitious writers is full of passion, hope and despair

They are dreaming of their football team’s promotion, of true love and a better life waiting for them somewhere. Rico, Mark, Paul and Daniel grow up in post-socialist Leipzig, in a quarter whose centre is the brewery. Every night they roam about the streets, celebrating, rioting, running away from skinheads, parents and the future, using their fists to fight for recognition and killing time. They go on the booze, they steal, feel wrecked, play it cool and dream of a life of their own. All their attempts to break out end up in the corridors of the local police station. Full of passion, fury and courage they are gambling away their lives in a hopeless rebellion making it difficult for readers to get the haunting images of night-time Leipzig, the boxing matches, the hopelessness and hope of this novel out of their minds.

  • nominated for the International Booker Prize 2023
  • to be published in UK/USA on March 30
  • shortlisted for the Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair 2006
  • a bestseller in Germany
  • turned into a movie picture
  • raving press!!!
  • rights sold to UK (WEL) (Fitzcarraldo) | F (Piranha) | TR (Ayrinti)| DK (People’s Press)
  • vomplete Danish translation available
  • English sample available

“Meyer is much too young of course. But that’s the way it is with good writers. They suddenly turn up and their grey haired colleagues start scratching their heads: how come he’s so good at it already?”

Sten Nadolny

still a literary revelation 15 years after its publication. No other book describes the attitude to life of an entire generation in East Germany more authentically and precisely.

Esquire Magazine

a hypnotic prose … this suburb is the whole world.

Paolo Giordano – Corriere della Sera

Meyer has been compared to Salinger, Jean Genet and Dostoyevsky – and rightly so: in this German version of a ‚trainspotting‘ one finds all the dark magic of those who manage to look lost souls in the face.

— Roberto Brunelli – Il Venerdì/La Repubblica

‚A book like a fist… German literature has not seen such a debut for a long time, a book full of rage, sadness, pathos and superstition.‘

— Felicitas von Lovenberg, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“[Meyer’s] stripped-back prose is suffused with meaning.‘
The Arts Desk

‚[Meyer] is one of the strongest German writers.‘
— Heinrich Oemsen, Hamburger Abendblatt

‚Clemens Meyer’s great art of describing people takes the form of the Russian doll principle: a story within a story within a story. … So much is so artfully interwoven that his work breaks the mould of the closed narrative.‘
— Katharina Teutsch, Die Zeit