International Literature Award:
Prize for contemporary literature in translation

Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW)

Congratulations to Fernanda Melchor and Angelica Ammar for winning the 2019 International Literature Award! We are looking forward to welcoming both of them at the 24th Leukerbad International Literary Festival.

Since 2009, the HKW and the Stiftung Elementarteilchen have granted the annual International Literature Award for an outstanding work of international literature and its first translation into German: the prize is shared between the author and translator.

The International Literature Award highlights the practices and processes contemporary literature from around the world. What forms does contemporary storytelling take? What multiplicities and relationships between texts and realities does translation call into being? Under what conditions are people imagining and thinking, writing, translating, publishing, and reading? How does contemporary literature deal with the complexities and shifts of a mobile and incessantly self-monitoring society? Who writes the texts that reflect the world as it is?

The €35,000 prize is shared, with €20,000 for the author and €15,000 for the translator, thereby honoring both the original work and the translation. This doubled focus makes the prize unique in Germany.

Jury statement 2019
“A shortlist that leads us to distant locales: to the provinces of Mexico and to the Australian frontier, to the Serbia of the civil war and the present day, to Israel, and to the Holocaust memorials of Poland. And into the distances of the self: the dungeons of memory, and the liminal realms—between dying and death, between death and emptiness. There is little to laugh at in these books, whose authors were born between 1937 and 1982—they are not resigned. Concentrated rage, black humor, introspection that resonates—these are sources of empowerment. And so these six books are, each in their own way, inspiring tributes to the power of literature.”

This year for the first time, the prize-winning duo will introduce the awarded work ten days after the prize ceremony at the Leukerbad International Literary Festival.

See detailed programme for exact times and locations

International Literature Award: Prize for contemporary literature in translation

The six nominated books:

Hélène Cixous, France
Meine Homère ist tot...
Translated from French by Claudia Simma, Passagen Verlag 2019

Zoltán Danyi, Serbia
Der Kadaverräumer
Translated from Hungarian by Terézia Mora, Suhrkamp Verlag 2018

Ariana Harwicz, Argentina
Stirb doch, Liebling
Translated from Spanish by Dagmar Ploetz, C.H. Beck 2019

Fernanda Melchor, Mexico
Saison der Wirbelstürme
Translated from Spanish by Angelica Ammar, Verlag Klaus Wagenbach 2019

Gerald Murnane, Australia
Translated from English by Rainer G. Schmidt, Suhrkamp Verlag 2018

Yishai Sarid, Israel
Translated from Hebrew by Ruth Achlama, Kein & Aber 2019

The prize-winning duo will be announced at the prize ceremony on June 18

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Literary walk
25th Leukerbad International Literary Festival
26 to 28 June 2020