Who will succeed Anne Weber's “Annette - Ein Heldinnenepos”, which won the German Book Prize for the best novel of the year last year? This book had explored the limits of the category, because lyric poetry, even unbound, is actually not eligible to participate. But “Annette” was just a heroine epic, a long story told in verse, modeled after the origin of all western literature. It was courageous to honor this book - formally, but also in terms of content, because Anne Weber's work presents a real French resistance fighter who did not make it easy for herself because she remained true to her moral convictions even when the interests of her own country were concerned went. And this Annette Beaumanoir was previously unknown in Germany.Will this year's jury now show similar daring?

Andreas Platthaus

Editor in charge of literature and literary life.

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We will only finally know this on October 18, when this year's winning book will be announced in the Kaisersaal des Frankfurter Römers at the start of the book fair week - possibly even with an audience present again.

But the now announced shortlist with the remaining six novels already allows a classification, because the winning title is determined from this circle.

197 books were read by the jury this year;

so the remaining half dozen is a tiny selection.

However, the longlist published a month ago still comprised twenty works.

It is part of the tension dramaturgy of this award that the attention is increasingly focused.

What was expected among the nominees

The longlist could be called reliable, also in view of the fact that, in addition to the previously usual expectations of a balanced relationship between writers, it is now also being strictly observed whether enough literature on identity politics has found its way onto the lists. One could find at least four books on the longlist that meet such demands (the novels by Shida Bazyar, Dilek Güngör, Sasha Marianna Salzmann and Mithu Sanyal). In the foreseeable future, one has to fear, such considerations of quantity will displace quality as the overriding criterion. This is one of the reasons why the decision in favor of Anne Weber's book was so gratifying last year.

Who will be up for election this time around?

The six finalists are in alphabetical order: Norbert Gstrein with “The Second Jacob”, Monika Helfer with “Vati”, Christian Kracht with “Eurotrash”, Thomas Kunst with “Zandschower Klinken”, Mithu Sanyal with “Identitti” and Antje Rávik Strubel with "Blue woman".

Balance between women and men after there was still a man overweight on the longlist.

With Sanyal's novel, which has already been highly successful with the audience, the expected representative of the heavily demanded identity-political literature is represented, and Antje Rávik Strubel's “Blue Woman” is anything but apolitical: This novel tells in a highly virtuoso manner of masculine violence against women.

Who gets the favorite role?

But you can also find classical literature on the list, and that does not mean conventional literature in each case, but rather novels that find their mission primarily in the storytelling itself. This is what Norbert Gstrein and Monika Helfer stand for, and they too have long been on the bestseller lists. Where Christian Kracht's “Eurotrash” also found its place - and that a little higher. There must never have been a book price shortlist with so many novels that have already hit the market. That will fuel the debate about the decision, and with Christian Kracht, a writer is still in the running where the opinions are divided. The fact that his “mother book” competes against Monika Helfer's “father book” is also appealing.

The surprise is Thomas Kunst's sometimes highly comical portrayal of the life plan of an East German dropout; the critical response to his book was already impressive, and now it will find its deserved audience. Is there a clear favorite for the price? No. But of course there are favorites of their own. Mine is the “blue woman”. No other of the six books tells such an uncompromising story. Not even Christian Kracht. His wonderful self-irony does not hold up in comparison with the elemental force of Antje Rávik Strubel's novel.

This year's jury

consists of their spokesman Knut Cordsen, culture editor at Bayerischer Rundfunk, Bettina Fischer, director of the Literaturhaus Köln, Anja Johannsen, director of the Göttingen Literary Center, Richard Kämmerlings, literary correspondent for the daily newspaper Die Welt, Sandra Kegel, head of the features section of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Beate Scherzer, bookseller at Proust Words + Töne in Essen, and Anne-Catherine Simon, features editor of the Austrian daily newspaper Die Presse.

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