The six finalists have now been decided for the German Book Prize 2009. "This year's shortlist discussion lasted a whole day. Everyone involved was struck by the intensity of the exchanges, often touching on fundamentals – literature, one's own work -, they revealed the extent of the reader's involvement with individual books and for that very reason, were often painful. When, for example, a novel did not make it to the last six when one thought it a great one, or vice versa", says the judges' spokesman, Hubert Winkels. "Almost like real life, with the heightened sense of an exceptional communicative situation and an outcome which may seem surprising only at a first glance, because one or other less well-known author and title is included. In reading them, not everyone may agree with all the decisions, but will always know why the respective book has been featured. And will see that German-language literature offers a compelling spectrum, not just in terms of subject matter, but in formal technique too." The seven judges have spent the past five months reviewing a total of 154 titles published between 1 October 2008 and 16 September 2009.
The nominated novels (in alphabetical order):
• Rainer Merkel: Lichtjahre entfernt (S. Fischer, March 2009)
• Herta Müller: Atemschaukel (Hanser, August 2009)
• Norbert Scheuer: Überm Rauschen (C. H. Beck, June 2009)
• Kathrin Schmidt: Du stirbst nicht (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Februa-ry 2009)
• Clemens J. Setz: Die Frequenzen (Residenz, February 2009)
• Stephan Thome: Grenzgang (Suhrkamp, August 2009)
Alongside Hubert Winkels, the other judges on the panel for the German Book Prize 2009 are: Richard Kämmerlings (literary editor at the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung), Michael Lemling (managing director of Buchhandlung Lehmkuhl, Munich), Martin Lüdke (freelance literary critic), Lothar Müller (editor for the feature section of the Süddeutsche Zeitung), Iris Radisch (literary editor at DIE ZEIT) and Daniela Strigl (literary critic and literary researcher at Vienna University). This year for the first time, the extensive reading workload was made available to the judges on an electronic handheld device, the Sony Reader.
The winner will receive prize money of 25,000 euros, with 2,500 euros going to each of the other five finalists. The German Book Prize 2009 is awarded by the German Publishers & Booksellers Assocation – Börsenverein – to the year's best German-language novel. The prize presentation ceremony is scheduled for 12 October 2009 in the immediate run-up to the Frankfurt Book Fair and is held in the Frankfurt Römer.
The German Book Prize is supported by Paschen & Companie and the 1822-Stiftung der Frankfurter Sparkasse. Its other partners are the Frankfurt Book Fair and Frankfurt City. The main support for the German Book Prize from broadcasters Deutsche Welle involves media publicity in other countries. Radio stations Deutschlandfunk and Deutschlandradio Kultur broadcast the presentation ceremony live as part of documentary and discussion programmes on LW 153 and 177 kHz and on MW 990 and 855 kHz, as well as on digital satellite radio DVB-S, Bouquet ZDF.vision and livestream on the internet at www.dradio.de. As from 22 September 2009, English translations of extracts from the shortlist titles and an English-language dossier pertaining to the shortlist will be available on the internet portal www.signandsight.com.
Further information and the dates of events being held with the prize winner during the Frankfurt Book Fair can be accessed at www.germanbookprize.
Frankfurt am Main, 16 September 2009
Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels e.V.
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For exclusive sample translations and background information on the shortlisted authors and novels go to: signandsight.com
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