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Lutz Seiler receives Leipzig Book Prize – on the radio


Lutz Seiler receives Leipzig Book Prize – on the radio

The Leipzig Book Fair is canceled, but not the Leipzig Book Fair price. It was awarded on Thursday at the scheduled time, but not in the large glass hall on the exhibition grounds, but on the radio – to Lutz Seiler’s novel “Stern 111” after the reunification period.

The winner was announced as part of the “Lesart” broadcast by Deutschlandfunk. At breakfast, Lutz Seiler learned that his novel had been awarded the renowned literary prize. It is the second novel by the 56-year-old and the second major award: In 2014 he received the German Book Prize for his debut “Kruso”.

Pictures of the fall of the wall

The pictures of the night from November 9th to 10th, 1989 are still remembered impressively: the “wall strikers” in front of the Brandenburg Gate, jubilation and joy, people dancing on the so-called anti-fascist protective wall – western media staged the event as a “happy ending” of a long conflict.

“These photos were a kind of obstruction for me because I also have different feelings when I think back to that time,” says Lutz Seiler, “the whole poverty and the precariousness of this situation when it came to somehow getting through, money to earn somewhere to live, and I wanted to share this other side. And after I had made myself clear, that worked.

A microcosm in the woodlouse

Lutz Seiler tells the story of a family that dissolves right at the beginning of the novel: In a night-and-fog campaign, the parents of Carl Bischoff make “over to the west”, the 26-year-old son, a former bricklayer, Student dropouts and poets who share a lot of key biographical data with Lutz Seiler remain behind, unsettled and disoriented. With him, the readers soon land in the “Assel”, the main location of the novel: a cellar pub in Berlin’s Oranienburgerstrasse, a meeting place for the city’s underground scene – for artists and anarchists, for squatters and prostitutes, a microcosm in which the social upheavals of the post-reunification period are reflected.

Experimental field for social utopias

It is an atmospherically dense panorama of an exceptional situation lasting around five years, which Lutz Seiler gives rise to here in a plastic way, a city as an experimental field for social utopias. And between revolutionary romanticism and chaos, Carl tries to position himself poetically and how he does it, Lutz Seiler knows one thing with him. “I was like Carl, who always has to listen, he listens to what happens, he speaks his verses in front of me, and the ear is the last resort: the ear controls whether the text is correct.” – And it really is all true Lutz Seiler’s “Star 111”.

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Lutz Seiler, “Star 111”, Suhrkamp

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