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Frank Witzel wins the German Book Prize 2015

Frank Witzel wins the German Book Prize 2015

© Claus Setzer / Börsenverein

The winner of the German Book Prize 2015 is Frank Witzel for his novel “Die
Erfindung der Roten Armee Fraktion durch einen manisch-depressiven Teenager
im Sommer 1969” (Matthes & Seitz Berlin)

Statement from the jury: “Frank Witzel’s work is, in the best sense, a boundless novelistic construct. It tells the story of a youth from the Hessian provinces who, at the age of thirteen and a half, finds himself on the verge of adulthood. Woven into this story is the political awakening of the former Federal Republic of Germany, which is just beginning to shake off the fustiness of the immediate post-war years. This era of transformation is conjured up through disparate episodes that run through an incredibly wide range of literary forms, from internal monologue to action scene, from meeting minutes to philosophical treatise. In its blending of delusion and wit, formal audacity and historical panoramicity, the novel is unique in Germanlanguage literature. Frank Witzel ventures into the precarious terrain of speculative realism. The German Book Prize honours a brilliant linguistic work of art that is a vast quarry of words and ideas – a hybrid compendium of pop, politics and paranoia.”

The members of the jury for the German Book Prize 2015 are: Markus Hinterhäuser (Wiener Festwochen), Rolf Keussen (Mayersche Droste, Düsseldorf), Ursula Kloke (Botnanger Buchladen, Stuttgart), Claudia Kramatschek (independent critic), Ulrike Sárkány (Norddeutscher Rundfunk), Christopher Schmidt (Süddeutsche Zeitung) and Bettina Schulte (Badische Zeitung).

Frank Witzel prevailed over: Jenny Erpenbeck (Gehen, ging, gegangen, Knaus), Rolf Lappert (Über den Winter, Carl Hanser), Inger-Maria Mahlke (Wie Ihr wollt, Berlin Verlag), Ulrich Peltzer (Das bessere Leben, S. Fischer) and Monique Schwitter (Eins im Andern, Droschl).

He will receive 25,000 euros in prize winnings; the five finalists will receive 2,500 euros each. The winner was determined in several stages. The seven members of the jury reviewed a total of 199 titles published between October 2014 and 16 September 2015. A longlist of 20 titles was compiled from these novels, from which the jurors then selected six titles for the shortlist.

The Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels Stiftung – the foundation of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association – is awarding the German Book Prize 2015 to the best German-language title of the year to coincide with the start of the Frankfurt Book Fair. The German Book Prize is financially supported by the Deutsche Bank Foundation. Other partners include the Frankfurt Book Fair and the city of Frankfurt am Main. The television network Deutsche Welle supports the German Book Prize in its media activities both at home and abroad.

Exclusive English translations of excerpts from the six shortlisted titles as well as an English-language dossier are available at

In addition, you’ll find news and stories about the German Book Prize on Facebook at

Frank Witzel wins the German Book Prize 2015

© Claus Setzer / Börsenverein



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Press contact

Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels e.V.

Thomas Koch
Press Officer
Phone +49 (0) 69 1306-292