Terézia Mora wins the German Book Prize 2013 for her novel “Das Ungeheuer”
The Börsenverein honours the year’s best German-language novel / Award ceremony held before 300 guests at the Frankfurt Römer
The winner of the German Book Prize 2013 is Terézia Mora for her novel “Das Ungeheuer” (Luchterhand).
Statement from the jury:
A dark thread runs through the text of Terézia Mora’s novel “Das Ungeheuer” (“Monster”), which tells the story of married couple Darius Kopp and Flora. He was an everyman who loved his wife more than anything – albeit hopelessly – and who was overwhelmed by her illness and depression. Flora took her own life, leaving Kopp behind with an urn filled with her ashes and a file in which his Hungarian wife had kept a diary of her disease. He sets off on a journey through Eastern Europe, in search of a home for the ashes and for his despair. His travels take him from Hungary to Croatia to Albania and beyond, until he finally descends upon Greece. “Das Ungeheuer” is both a stylistically brilliant obituary that is rich in perspective and a spirited road novel set in modern-day Eastern Europe. Terézia Mora adopts a radical approach to offer a voice to the deceased Flora and her suffering, which she was unable to share with Darius. Beneath the dark thread, her diary can be read as a complement to Darius’ travel story – a mosaic of autobiographical and medical sketches on the subject of depression. As a writer, Mora succeeds in interweaving two text forms and two characters who failed each other in life. Terézia Mora combines a keen awareness of literary form with a capacity for empathy. “Das Ungeheuer” is a deeply moving novel that offers its own diagnosis of the contemporary age.
Jury members for the German Book Prize 2013 include: Helmut Böttiger (independent critic, jury spokesman), Katrin Lange (Literaturhaus Munich), Ursula März (Die Zeit), Jörg Plath (independent critic), Andreas Platthaus (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), Klaus Seufer-Wasserthal (Rupertus Buchhandlung, Salzburg, Austria) and Claudia Voigt (Der Spiegel).
“As communication, purchasing decisions and media consumption continue to shift to the Internet, there is, on the flip-side, a growing need to develop a closer relationship with the author, to meet him or her personally, to get a better sense of his or her worldview”, said Prof. Dr. Gottfried Honnefelder, director of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels and chairman of the Akademie Deutscher Buchpreis, in his opening address to approximately 300 guests in the Kaisersaal of the Römer. “Authors have a lot to say, and not just in a literary sense. Readers want to experience their authors – to see and hear them. And Book Prizes serve as a sort of spotlight in this process, bringing authors into focus and creating an ever expanding readership for literature.”
Terézia Mora prevailed against Mirko Bonné (Nie mehr Nacht, Schöffling & Co.), Reinhard Jirgl (Nichts von euch auf Erden, Hanser), Clemens Meyer (Im Stein, S. Fischer), Marion Poschmann (Die Sonnenposition, Suhrkamp) and Monika Zeiner (Die Ordnung der Sterne über Como, Blumenbar).
She will receive 25,000 euros in prize winnings; the five finalists will each receive 2,500 euros. The winner was determined in several selection stages. The seven members of the jury reviewed a total of 201 titles published between October 2012 and 11 September 2013. A longlist of 20 titles was then compiled from these novels. From this list, the jurors selected six titles for the shortlist.
The Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels Stiftung – the Foundation of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association – awarded the German Book Prize 2013 to the best German-language title of the year to coincide with the start of the Frankfurt Book Fair. Partners of the German Book Prize include Paschen & Companie, the Frankfurter Sparkasse Foundation, the Frankfurt Book Fair and the city of Frankfurt am Main. The television station Deutsche Welle serves as a media partner for the German Book Prize both at home and abroad. The radio stations Deutschlandfunk and Deutschlandradio Kultur broadcasted the ceremony live as part of the “Dokumente und Debatten” programme on LW 153 and 177 kHz, as a live stream online at www.deutschlandradio.de and on digital satellite radio DAB+. The award ceremony was also transmitted via live video stream at www.deutscher-buchpreis.de.
The free German Book Prize app offers reading and audio samples of all the nominated longlist titles. It is available for download in the iTunes App Store at http://bit.ly/dbp-ios or via Google Play at http://bit.ly/dbp-android. Exclusive English translations of excerpts from the six titles selected for the shortlist and an English-language dossier for each shortlisted book and author are available at www.new-books-in-german.com.
The German Book Prize is on Facebook. You’ll find information, news and stories about the German Book Prize at http://www.facebook.com/DeutscherBuchpreis.
Additional information about the winner and her appearances during the Frankfurt Book Fair can be found at www.deutscher-buchpreis.de.
Frankfurt am Main, 7 October 2013
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