© Claus Setzer
The winner of the German Book Prize 2007 is Julia Franck who receives the award for her novel Die Mittagsfrau (S. Fischer). “Against the background of two world wars, Julia Franck tells the disturbing story of a woman who leaves her son, without finding herself. The book is persuasive in its vivid use of language, narrative power and psychological intensity. A novel for long conversation.”, is how the seven judges announced their choice. The judges for the German Book Prize 2007 are: Christian Döring (editor and critic), Karl-Markus Gauss (author and editor of the magazine “Literatur & Kritik”), Felicitas von Lovenberg (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), Ijoma Mangold (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Rudolf Müller (Müller & Böhm, Litraturhandlung im Heine Haus), Mathias Schreiber (Der Spiegel) and Hajo Steinert (Deutschlandfunk).
“There was a big majority for the judges’ choice of Julia Franck’s novel “Die Mittagsfrau” as the winner for the 2007 novel of the year. This decision was preceded by energetic and intense discussion of all titles; there was particularly lively argument as to what a contemporary German novel is able to achieve over and above literary fashions and off-the-peg goods”, says Felicitas von Lovenberg, speaking on behalf of the judges.
“The presentation of the German Book Prize has whet the appetite for new literary discoveries in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and allowed confidence to grow in other countries as to the quality of contemporary German-language literature”, according to Gottfried Honnefelder, president of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels – German Publishers & Booksellers Association – and chairman of the German Book Prize Academy, in his welcome to around 400 guests in the “Kaiser” auditorium at the Römer. Moreover, the award had become an object of cultural dispute. “Jealousy, refreshing ridicule, know-it-all polemics have become linked to the German Book Prize – we are happy about the public attention, about all the declarations of love and the passionate attacks.”
Julia Franck won through against competition from Thomas Glavinic (Das bin doch ich. Hanser), Michael Köhlmeier (Abendland, Hanser), Katja Lange-Müller (Böse Schafe, Kiepenheuer & Witsch), Martin Mosebach (Der Mond und das Mädchen, Hanser) and Thomas von Steinaecker (Wallner beginnt zu fliegen, FVA). She receives prize money of 25,000 euros; the five other finalists receive 2,500 euros each. The winner was chosen over the course of several selection stages. In the last six months, the judges viewed all the submissions from publishing companies, as well as requesting additional titles. From this total of around 117 novels, a longlist was compiled of 20 titles, from which the judges then chose six titles for the shortlist.
With the German Book Prize 2007, the Börsenverein des Deutschen Bookhandels preludes the Frankfurt Book Fair with its award for the year’s best German-language novel. Its partners are Florian and Gabriele Langenscheidt, SPIEGEL-Verlag, the Frankfurt Book Fair and Frankfurt City. Deutsche Welle supports the German Book Prize primarily with media publicity in other countries. English translations of the first pages of all the shortlisted titles are included in an English-language dossier made available on the internet portal www.signandsight.com.
More information on the authors and the German Book Prize 2007 can be accessed on the website www.deutscher-buchpreis.de.
c/o Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels
Großer Hirschgraben 17-21
60311 Frankfurt am Main
Phone: +49(0)69 / 1306 334
Telefax: +49(0)69 / 1306 294
For exclusive sample translations and background information on the shortlisted authors and novels go to: signandsight.com
German Book Prize 2006: Press Commentaries