Prize Ceremony

2017

2017

Prize winner

The jury has decided: The winner of the German Book Prize 2017

Die Hauptstadt (The Capital)

Prize winner 2017

Die Hauptstadt (The Capital)

Public official Fenia Xenopoulou is tasked with brushing up the image of the European Commission. She hires the consultant Martin Susman to come up with an idea – an idea that ends up rousing a spectre from the past, rocking the boat of the EU institutions. Commissioner Brunfaut is forced to let a murder case rest for political reasons. Alois Erhart, Professor Emeritus of Economics, is expected to pronounce words on the future of Europe that may be his last. And what is Brussels up to? Looking for a name – for the pig that’s on the loose in the streets.

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Justification of the jury

“The humane is always worth striving for; it is never reliably given: With his novel 'Die Hauptstadt', Robert Menasse vividly shows that this also applies to the European Union. With great dramaturgical skill, he light-handedly digs into the deepest layers of this world we call our own – making unmistakably clear that, among other things, the economy alone will not be able to guarantee us a peaceful future. Those who are undermining the peace project that is Europe are among us – not infrequently, 'the others' are we ourselves. With 'Die Hauptstadt', Robert Menasse has achieved the goal he set for himself: In the novel, contemporaneity is realised with such literary ability that contemporaries will recognise themselves in it and those born later will be better able to understand these times.”

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Robert Menasse prevailed against Gerhard Falkner (“Romeo oder Julia”, Berlin Verlag), Franzobel (“Das Floß der Medusa”, Paul Zsolnay), Thomas Lehr (“Schlafende Sonne”, Carl Hanser), Marion Poschmann (“Die Kieferninseln”, Suhrkamp) and Sasha Marianna Salzmann (“Außer sich”, Suhrkamp). He 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 200 titles published between October 2016 and 12 September 2017.

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 2017 to the best German-language title of the year to coincide with the start of the Frankfurt Book Fair.

2017 Impressions

The award ceremony 2017 9 October

2017 The finalists