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East German authors win prestigious National Prize

Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, three East German authors have won this year's coveted German National Prize for their efforts to bring Germany and Europe closer together.

The prize recipients, from left to right: Loest, Maron, Tellkamp

Three generations receiving their award at the National Theater in Weimar

The authors Erich Loest, Monika Maron and Uwe Tellkamp received the award on Tuesday at the National Theater in Weimar.

The German National Foundation, which has awarded the prize every year since 1993, said the writers "represented three generations symbolizing, personally and with their literary works, the multiple fractures in German history."

Loest, who is 83 and one of the most important writers of post-war Germany, has written numerous novels and stories about contemporary German history, including "Nicolai Church" and "Dreams of a Border Crosser". He was jailed for almost eight years in 1957 in East Germany for allegedly "forming counter-revolutionary groups."

68-year-old Monika Maron has spent her litarary career examining the contradictions of East Germany's totalitarian system in works like "Flight of Ashes" and "Silent Close No. 6". Her step-father was the East German interior minister from 1955 to 1963. After her writings were banned, she was allowed to move to Hamburg in 1988, one year before the Wall came down.

Uwe Tellkamp, now 40, was never able to study in East Germany because he was discovered with works by Erasmus of Rotterdam and dissident writer Wolf Biermann and charged with "acts of political divergence." In 2008, Tellkamp was awarded the German Book Prize for his novel "The Tower."

The authors will share the prize money of 60,000 euros (83,000 US dollars).


Editor: Susan Houlton

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