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Top lit prize for German-Iraqi author Sherko Fatah's take on war and terror

The Berlin author with a bicultural background, Sherko Fatah, is this year's winner of the literary award. His portrayal of the cruel brutality of war offers glimmers of hope and humanity.

The Adelbert-von-Chamisso Prize recognizes each year the works of an author "writing in the German language whose literature is affected by cultural changes," as described by the Robert Bosch Foundation, which established the award in 1985. Fatah will receive the prize at a ceremony on Thursday evening (05.03.2015) in Munich.

Born in 1964 from an Iraqi Kurdish father and a German mother, Sherko Fatah grew up in East Berlin. The family moved to West Berlin in 1975, where Fatah studied philosophy and art history.

Even though the accolade goes to the author's entire body of work, a special mention was given to his last novel "Der letzte Ort" (The last place), which tells the story of a German who gets kidnapped in Iraq with his Arabic interpreter.

The jury declared in an official statement that his works "enrich intercultural literary writing through their brutally honest depiction of war and terror," and added it was particularly impressed by "the nuanced innermost thoughts of the victims suffering from inhumane cruelty and their hope for a peaceful and humane world, which can never be extinguished."

In addition to the main award, which is accompanied by a prize sum of 15,000 euros (about $16,600), two promotional prizes are also to be awarded on Thursday. Both Olga Grjasnowa, for her second novel "Die juristische Unschärfe einer Ehe" (The legal fuzziness of a marriage), and Martin Kordic, for his debut novel "Wie ich mir das Glück vorstelle" (How I imagine happiness), will received 7,000 euros ($7,750) in prize money.

eg/kbm (dpa/epd)

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