Literature: Author Seiler honored with Georg Büchner Prize

The novelist and poet Lutz Seiler was awarded the Georg Büchner Prize 2023 in Darmstadt on Saturday.

Literature: Author Seiler honored with Georg Büchner Prize

The novelist and poet Lutz Seiler was awarded the Georg Büchner Prize 2023 in Darmstadt on Saturday. In his younger years he had a strong feeling that later faded: a longing for a mentor, said Seiler at a ceremony of the German Academy for Language and Poetry in the State Theater.

"I never found him, nor the formative role model whose imitation could have been an entrance or a bridge into the world of writing." Today he could say that reading, reading in its many forms, has filled this role, said the author of poems, essays and novels like “Kruso”. The prize, worth 50,000 euros, is one of the most important literary awards in German-speaking countries.

In his acceptance speech, Seiler, who was born in Gera in 1963, discussed his childhood in Thuringia and the uranium mining there, which also shaped his work, but also took the current political situation into account. “Care and protection” would be the right means for our species, but the prerequisite for this is peace. "War, however, as we are experiencing it today, means a continuation and acceleration of the brutal destruction of biographies, families and landscapes that characterized the last century.

The laudator, the journalist and literary scholar Lothar Müller, said of Seiler: "Without his voice, his tone, his awareness of language and form, contemporary German literature would be poorer, much poorer."

Since 1951, the Academy has awarded the prize to writers who write in German. It is financed by the federal government, the state of Hesse and the city of Darmstadt. The award winners include Max Frisch (1958), Günter Grass (1965) and Heinrich Böll (1967) and most recently Elke Erb and Clemens J. Setz. It is named after the playwright and revolutionary Georg Büchner ("Woyzeck"). He was born in the Grand Duchy of Hesse in 1813 and died in Zurich in 1837.

In addition to the Georg Büchner Prize, there were other awards. The evolutionary biologist Matthias Glaubrecht was honored with the Sigmund Freud Prize for scientific prose and the literary critic Jutta Person with the Johann Heinrich Merk Prize for literary criticism and essays. The awards are each endowed with 20,000 euros.

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