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Political coming-of-age novel receives prestigious German Book Prize

Frank Witzel took the German book world's top prize at the Frankfurt Book Fair for his novel set in late-sixties West Germany. The award seeks to cast a spotlight on German-language authors.

Wiesbaden-born novelist, musician and poet Frank Witzel accepted the prestigious German Book Prize during the opening of the annual Frankfurt Book Fair on Monday.

His novel, "The Invention of the Red Army Faction by a Manic-Depressive Teenager in the Summer of 1969," tells a coming-of-age story about a 13-year old boy growing up in West Germany during a period marked by protests, domestic terrorism and confrontations with the nation's troubled past.

Witzel competed against 175 other authors for the top honor, which comes with a 25,000-euro ($28,440) cash award.

The seven-person jury, made up of representatives from the literary and media industry, called the novel "unique" and praised it as "a brilliant linguistic work of art that is a vast quarry of words and ideas - a hybrid compendium of pop, politics and paranoia," according to the award's website.

Four other novels were short-listed for the prize; the authors will each receive 2,500 euros ($2,844).

The German Book Prize is organized by the Foundation of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association. Its purpose is "to draw attention beyond national borders to authors writing in German," the website said.

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