An "old acquaintance", established authors, discoveries - the nominations for the 2023 Leipzig Book Fair Prize cover a wide range.
With the Austrian Clemens J. Setz ("Monde vor der Landing"), the jury nominated an author in the fiction category on Thursday, who had already won the prize twelve years ago. Ulrike Draesner ("The Transformed") and Angela Steidele ("Enlightenment. A Novel") are among the big names in the industry. Joshua Groß ("Prana Extreme") and Dinçer Güçyeter ("Our Germany Fairy Tale") complete the shortlist.
Jury chairwoman Insa Wilke emphasized the diversity: "This year we were fascinated by the different forms of expression across the divisions, with which on the one hand history becomes a mirror of current questions and on the other hand the immediate present becomes questionable and visible in its ambivalence and complex conflict situations " she explained.
The prize will be awarded on April 27th in Leipzig. According to the fair, 161 publishers submitted a total of 465 works this time. The prize is awarded in the categories of fiction, translation and non-fiction/essay writing. It is endowed with a total of 60,000 euros - the winner receives 15,000 euros each, and each nomination is also worth 1000 euros.
Thorsten Ahrend: balanced and surprising selection
The head of the Literaturhaus Leipzig, Thorsten Ahrend, assessed the selection in the fiction section as balanced and surprising at the same time. "It's a strong statement to nominate Clemens J. Setz, someone who has already won the award," said Ahrend. That is rather unusual and speaks for the fact that "Moons Before Landing" is an outstanding novel. In general, all the nominees are rightly on the list - even if other authors also deserve it, of course.
From the point of view of the blogger and translator Tina Lohrenz, the Leipzig Book Fair prize always makes it possible to discover "little pearls". That's the case again this year, said the 32-year-old, who runs the book blog "Frollein von Kunterbunt". The selection is also very political and also takes into account independent publishers.
Among the nominated translators this year is Antje Rávik Strubel, who won the German Book Prize in Frankfurt in 2021 as an author. She represents her transfer of the book Who Killed Bambi? from Swedish on the shortlist. Nicole Nau, Johanna Schwering, Katharina Triebner-Cabald, Brigitte Oleschinski and Osman Yousufi were also nominated. Smaller publishers in particular are represented in this category.
The thematic spectrum is also large for non-fiction books. It ranges from Jan Philipp Reemtsma's preoccupation with modern German literature and the author Christoph Martin Wieland ("Christoph Martin Wieland. The invention of modern German literature") to the exploitation of nature in Africa for the benefit of western countries (Simone Schlindwein: "Der green war. How in Africa nature is protected at the expense of the people - and what the West has to do with it"). Also nominated are Carolin Amlinger and Oliver Nachtwey ("Injured Freedom. Aspects of Libertarian Authoritarianism", Birgit Weyhe ("Rude Girl") and Regina Scheer ("Bitter Fountain. Hertha Gordon-Walcher and the Dream of the Revolution").
After three Corona cancellations of the Leipzig Book Fair in a row, Literaturhaus boss Ahrend expects that the prize will attract more attention than last time. Although the award was also given in previous years, it is of course something different when it is done live and not in a video slot, said Ahrend. "It will have a greater impact. That's important for the industry and the book fair, and of course it's also great for the authors."