Press Releases 2013
Press Release

The Robert Bosch Stiftung’s 2013 Adelbert von Chamisso Prize goes to Marjana Gaponenko

Promotional awards go to Matthias Nawrat and Anila Wilms

Stuttgart, January 15, 2013 - Marjana Gaponenko will be awarded the 2013 Adelbert von Chamisso Prize valued at 15,000 euros. According to the jury, Marjana Gaponenko has brought a "new, exciting tone" to contemporary German-language prose with her novel Wer ist Martha? (Who is Martha?) (Suhrkamp publishing company). This year’s promotional awards, valued at 7,000 euros each, are going to Matthias Nawrat for his novel Wir zwei allein (We Two Alone) (Nagel & Kimche publishing company) and to Anila Wilms for her German-language debut Das albanische Öl oder Mord auf der Straße des Nordens (Albanian Oil or Murder on the Street of the North) (Transit publishing company). The Robert Bosch Stiftung awards the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize to honor outstanding contributions to German-language literature from authors whose work is shaped by a change of language or culture. This makes the prize the only one of its kind in Germany. The awards will be presented to the winners on February 28, 2013, at the All Saints’ Court Church in the Munich Residenz. On March 1, 2013, the award-winners will read from their works at the Munich Literaturhaus.

Marjana Gaponenko, born in Odessa, Ukraine, in 1981, earned a degree in German Studies there and today lives in Mainz. She has been writing in German since she was sixteen. In her novel Wer ist Martha?, she tells the whimsical story of Luka Lewadski, a 96-year-old ornithologist from Lviv who spends the last weeks of his life at a grand hotel in Vienna, in doing so returning to the place he grew up. A concert at the neighboring music club and a crazy night at the hotel bar become the last highlights of his long life. According to the jury’s statement, Marjana Gaponenko portrays "an unusual panorama of 20th century Central European history." With Who is Martha?, she successfully creates "both a tender and humorous celebration of human life."

Matthias Nawrat, born in Opole, Poland, in 1979, moved with his family to Bamberg in 1989. He studied biology in Heidelberg and Freiburg im Breisgau. After spending time in various places including Biel, Switzerland, he now lives in Berlin. Matthias Nawrat is being honored for his first novel Wir zwei allein (We Two Alone), which according to the jury "tells, in a linguistically clever manner, a tale of love and loneliness in our multi-optional, and as a result, often overwhelming era." His novel, which takes place around Freiburg, illustrates "the relationship between two people timidly looking for their way in life. Romantic ideas of love lull the protagonists into a deceptive bliss that has no bearing on reality."

Anila Wilms was born in Tirana, Albania, in 1971, where she studied history and philology. She came to Berlin in 1994, where she has lived since then. She is being honored for her novel Das albanische Öl oder Mord auf der Straße des Nordens (Albanian Oil or Murder on the Street of the North), which takes place in the 1920s and according to the jury "tells an exotic, burlesque episode from the history of the young Albanian nation in the form of a political thriller." Her story, populated by simple people, crafty diplomats, and more than dubious political figures, can also be considered a "literarily convincing metaphor for the current situation in Albania."

The 2013 Adelbert von Chamisso Prize jury is comprised of: Gregor Dotzauer (literature critic), Zsuzsanna Gahse (author, Chamisso award-winner in 2006), Michael Krüger (author and publisher), Dr. Klaus-Dieter Lehmann (president of the Goethe Institute), Denis Scheck (literature critic), Dorothea Westphal (literature critic), and Feridun Zaimoglu (author, Chamisso award-winner in 2005). Deutschlandradio Kultur is the award’s media partner.

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Copyright: Robert Bosch Stiftung/Yves Noir.