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Books

Leipzig Book Fair Prize rewards three epic works

As Leipzig gets in a special reading mood over the next few days during its annual book fair, these three books in German can expect a boost in sales thanks to the prestigious award they've just received.

Three recently released books in German were awarded the Leipzig Book Fair Prize on Thursday (17.03.2016). The annual accolade goes to books in the categories of fiction, non-fiction and translation, and comes with a 15,000-euro (nearly $17,000) cash prize.

"Frohburg," by Guntram Vesper, was declared the best novel. "For such a book, greater words quickly come to mind: opus magnum, masterpiece," the jury declared.

Covering the great events of the 20th century from the perspective of a German family which flees to West Germany from Frohburg, a small town south of Leipzig in 1957, the story is told "with a high sensibility for the East-West phenomenon," added the jury.

Guntram Vesper has already received several awards in Germany, but his works are not available in English yet.

In the non-fiction category, Jürgen Goldstein received the award for his biography "Georg Forster. Zwischen Freiheit und Naturgewalt" (Georg Forster. Between Freedom and Force of Nature), on the German naturalist, ethnologist, travel writer, journalist and revolutionary, Johann Georg Adam Forster (1754-1794), who accompanied James Cook around the world.

"It is more than a biography, it reads like an adventure novel," stated the presenters at Thursday's award ceremony.

The winner of the best translation is "Die Tutoren" (The Tutors), from the Serbian author Bora Cosic, translated into German by Brigitte Döbert.

The jury described the book as a Serbian modernist equivalent to James Joyce's Irish "Ulysses." The Berlin-based translator Brigitte Döbert managed to "apply exuberant wordplay to summarize Balkan madness," declared the jury.

Altogether, 401 works from 113 publishers were submitted to be considered for this year's award. The jury, led by literary critic Kristina Maidt-Zinke, shortlisted five books in each category.

The award was created in 2005 and is awarded yearly at the

Leipzig Book Fair

, held this year from March 17-20. It is considered the second most important German literary award after the German Book Prize, which is handed out every year during the Frankfurt Book Fair in September.

eg/kbm (with dpa)

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