The Book Prize candidates

Six books are on the shortlist for the German Book Prize, which is awarded annually to the best German-language novel.

Fremde Seele, dunkler Wald (Strange Soul, Dark Woods) by Reinhard Kaiser-Mühlecker: a village novel about two brothers who try to escape this world. “But the urge to flee from the present is absorbed by the lack of any alternatives”, writes the jury. “Masterly.”

Widerfahrnis (Encounter) by Bodo Kirchhoff: a former publisher travels spontaneously to Italy with the former owner of a hat shop whom he meet by chance. “’Boy meets girl’ –this also works at an advanced age”, notes the jury. “Bodo Kirchhoff is a great story-teller, whose precision stimulates rather than satiates the reader’s imagination.”

Skizze eines Sommers (A Sketch of Summer) by André Kubiczek: a youth novel for adults from East Germany of the 1980s. “A gently told coming-of-age story with marvellously well-drawn characters”, judges the jury. “Full of wit and profundity.”

Die Welt im Rücken (The World at My Back) by Thomas Melle: not actually a novel. The author Thomas Melle reports on his psychological illness. “In this chronicle of his bouts of manic-depression, which drive him to clubs, concert halls and clinics, Melle draws almost incidentally an atmospheric picture of the pop cultural present”, says the jury.

Ein langes Jahr (A Long Year) by Eva Schmidt: in 38 episodes the writer, who lives on Lake Constance, tells of the inhabitants of her city from changing perspectives. “The language is restrained, not a word too many”, writes the jury. “The melancholy text requires attention, for which it richly rewards the reader.”

Hool by Philipp Winkler: the portrait of a young hooligan. “In this smashing debut, Winkler has succeeded in writing a milieu novel that doesn’t glorify anything, is hard, sad and sometimes funny”, says the jury.

Announcement of the Book Prize winner, 17 October 2016