We can congratulate three times: Antje Rávik Strubel for the German Book Prize for her novel “Blaue Frau”, the jury for her choice and the award itself for this winning title.

It continues the remarkable list of politically motivated books that have so far triumphed in the most important commercial award for the German-language literary business: starting with Katharina Hacker's "Die habenichtse" (2006) through Uwe Tellkamp's "Der Turm", Ursula Krechel's "Landgericht" , Robert Menasse's “The Capital” and Saša Stanišić's “Origin” to “Anette, a heroine epic” by Anne Weber only last year.

Andreas Platthaus

Editor in charge of literature and literary life.

  • Follow I follow

This time, however, the private is political - or rather: socio-political. The focus of “Blue Woman” is a young Czech woman named Adina who has to cope with the consequences of rape. Antje Rávik Strubel, an author who has always been interested in questions of gender identity, focuses here on sexual violence as male violence, and how it does it is indeed merciless when it comes to language choice, drasticness and message. But in addition to the “existential impact” also “poetically precise”, as the jury aptly stated in its reasoning. “Blue woman” is a highly literary beacon.

Will this meet with approval from the many buyers who are usually attracted to the German Book Prize and win the title?

Antje Rávik Strubel tells about a whole continent and also across the boundaries of our security.

That is a lot of prerequisites, and that is precisely what makes the award so gratifying.

A lance has been broken here for challenging literature.

There have been more convenient decisions.

A combative acceptance speech

One might think that Antje Rávik Strubel would have expected it, her acceptance speech seemed so serene. Most of the nominees should have prepared one, but there was a particularly great sense of certainty that they had deserved this award: as a reward for a declaration of war. This was felt just as much in the mockery of those "doorbell-on-the-door-and-run-away men" that Antje Rávik Strubel sees at work in the resistance to the identity debates, as well as in her scorn for the audacity that it engenders Stylize end of (male) sovereignty towards the end of (general) freedom of opinion. That met with a great deal of applause from the 160 guests who were admitted to the Kaisersaal of the Frankfurt Römers - where only about thirty were lost last year due to the pandemic. The award ceremony regained a bit of normalcy, despite a winner,which, as she says, is more dedicated to “the loopholes of normality”.

Behind Antje Rávik Strubel sat an author in the Römer, for whom the same applies: Christian Kracht. It was remarkable enough that he had even come. With “Eurotrash” (Kiepenheuer & Witsch) nominated for a big prize for the third time this year (Iris Hanika was preferred to him in Leipzig, he himself refused the nomination for the Swiss Book Prize), he had the staff of Deutsche Welle - like always responsible for the rather insignificant film recordings about the six finalists of the book award - not even allowed into the house. Now he was sitting in Frankfurt with a chic pink mouth and nose covering, and despite the joy about the victory of “Blue Woman”, the downside of the evening that “Eurotrash” came away empty-handed again.

One will also be disappointed at Hanser Verlag, which made half of the shortlist with three nominees (Norbert Gstreins “The Second Jacob”, Monika Helfer's “Vati” and Mithu Sanyal's “Identitti”).

There was only one such superiority in the history of the award: in 2012, when three Suhrkamp books made it to the finals, and then Ursula Krechel won, published by Jung und Jung.

Certain patterns repeat themselves.

The pride of being honored in this city

To be selected in such a competition - the sixth finalist was Thomas Kunst with “Zandschower Klinken” (Suhrkamp) - had to make one proud.

Antje Rávik Strubel was particularly pleased that she won a Frankfurt Prize with the German Book Prize, from the city where her late mentor Silvia Bovenschen lived, to which the novel “Blue Woman” is dedicated.

At the end, the winner confidently stated: “Rávik” - her

nom de plume

- “and I are writers, not writers, and as such are sometimes awarded an asterisk”.

And now also with the German Book Prize.

Keywords: antje rávik strubel, blaue frau, german book prize, book prize, books, title.it, fighter, german, woman, speechone, award, sense, lot, choice, times