The writer Jenny Erpenbeck (56) has been awarded the international Stefan Heym Prize. The board of trustees justified its decision by Erpenbeck critically dealing with explosive and current socio-political issues and presenting them in a clear and understandable literary language. The prize awarded on Saturday evening in the Chemnitz Opera House is endowed with 20,000 euros.
In her work, the writer repeatedly brings her East German past and experience of reunification into the literary and social discourse. This is how she keeps the conversation and the efforts at understanding between East and West alive, it was said. "We need people who use written and spoken words to stimulate thought for the values of our society," said Minister of Social Affairs Petra Köpping (SPD) at the award ceremony.
Erpenbeck was born in East Berlin in 1967. The board of trustees explained the award of the prize as the focus of their work is the critical reflection of contemporary society with its historical and cultural references. The writer does not use literature as a "moral club", but understands it as a medium, in the spirit of Heym, which gives the reader food for thought in the best sense of the word.
The award commemorates the Chemnitz-born writer Stefan Heym (1913-2001) and has been awarded since 2008. Previous winners have included Amos Oz, Bora Cosic and Christoph Hein.
Erpenbeck's works have been translated into more than 30 languages. She penned novels such as "The Visitation", "All Days Evening" and "Kairos". Her work also found its way onto the theater stage. "Visitation" celebrated its premiere in a stage adaptation in Gera in 2010. It tells about 100 years of German history based on a house on a lake in Brandenburg and its inhabitants.
Vita Jenny Erpenbeck