Awarded the Robert Gernhardt Prize and the Licher Literature Prize
In ›Old Girls‹, Julia Wolf lets three generations of women have their say – and sketches a panorama of female life in the Federal Republic that hasn’t been seen before in contemporary German literature.
»Julia Wolf’s ›Old Girls‹ resists easy categorisation and refuses to jump on any contemporary literary bandwagons. Its mixture of different literary modes is accessible, inventive and often amusing. Wolf has a knack for hitting all the right generational notes while developing distinct characters and friendships.« New Books in German
»›Old Girls‹ has everything you could want from a contemporary German-language novel: The failure of a petty-bourgeois family, silence, and the experiences of powerlessness in German post-war history, all told as a kaleidoscopic exploration of female subjectivity. Julia Wolf writes a history of consciousness, creating a picture of the postwar milieu that has not been seen before.« Laudatio for the Robert Gernhardt Prize
It's always the daughters who ask! The three ›girls from East Prussia‹, Anni, Else and Hannelore, are asked to model for a photography campaign for their senior citizens’ residence. While Germany's Next Topmodel plays on television, these three women in their mid-nineties negotiate what they want to say about their lives – and what not.
In the car on the way to Poland, Gudrun sends a voice message. She wants her niece to know about her grandmother’s death. But she digresses, talks about her escape at the end of the war, her childhood in the 1950s. Suddenly it becomes clear: she has something she wants to confess.
Undine, Jenny and Thao spend a weekend in Berlin before Jenny has her first child. Along with memories of their childhood and youth in the 1980s and 1990s, social differences come to light again. As they reevaluate their life choices, the contractions begin.
Written in three parts – »Marjellchen,« »New Home, Old House« and »MILF« – Julia Wolf portrays three generations of women, tracing the wounds, values, and experiences of wartime. With this novel, she contributes an important narrative of female subjectivity to German post-war history, opening our eyes to where we come from, where we are going, what we should take with us, and what we should let go.
Julia Wolf is an author and translator. Her debut »Alles ist Jetzt« (FVA 2015) was followed by the novel »Walter Nowak bleibt liegen« (FVA 2017), which won the 3sat Prize and the Nicolas Born Debut Prize, and was nominated for the German Book Prize 2017. She received the Robert Gernhardt Prize and the Licher Literature Prize for »Old Girls«. As part of the author collective »Writing with CARE/RAGE,« Julia Wolf has worked on the topic of care work and artistic production. She lives with her family in Leipzig.
There are many GIs stationed in the Wetterau region, between 1958 and 1960 even Elvis Presley. American soldiers and German ›Fräuleins‹ roam the streets hand in hand; many children are born out of wedlock these days and less generous observers call the ›Fräuleins‹ ›Ami-Liebchen‹ or ›GI-mistresses‹. Yet, the everyday routine of the people in Randstetten, a small town in this region, remains largely untouched by the wild 60s, flower power and beat music.
In the summer of 1969 all that seems to change abruptly when Frank Z's car breaks down in the small town. The hippie from Laurel Canyon rents a room in the local Green Tree Inn since his car cannot be repaired until the replacement parts arrive. The musician from California arrives in that sleepy town like a bolt of lightening, with his long dark hair and his washed out jeans he is immediately the talk of the town on this Saturday. Things are going to change, everything is going to change, Ev is certain of that. Ev is the seventeen year-old daughter of the house, her mother Rosie is running the Green Tree Inn. The girl falls in love with Frank Z. but she will not be the only one whose life is touched by the musician. While not everyone seems to be thrilled about it, the process of change is set into motion.
Britta Boerdner has great intuition when it comes to the mood and the mental state of her protagonists; she skillfully captures the atmosphere of the time and brings it to life through language. »The Day That Frank Z. Came to the ›Green Tree Inn‹« is a riveting story and Britta Boerdner's insightful way of telling it demonstrates the great talent of this extraordinary novelist.
Britta Boerdner was born in Fulda. After training as a bookseller, she majored in American studies, German studies and historical ethnology in Frankfurt on the Main. Her debut novel »What Remains Hidden« was published in 2012 by FVA. In 2015 she received a grant from the Hessian Council for Literature which brought her to the Emilia Romagna. Based on a sample from her novel »The Day That Frank Z. Came to the ›Green Tree Inn‹« she was invited to be a writer in residence on the island of Sylt. She lives in Frankfurt on the Main.
»Flamboyant, certainly, but highly concentrated, à la Kleist, in its style and language. Kudos to the author!« Deutschlandradio
Rimbaud’s motto is a fitting introduction for the new novel by Hans Christoph Buch, one of Germany’s great literary travellers. The central protagonist is a fictional character called H.C. Buch, who may or may not resemble his creator.
Accompanied by his ex-wife, Judith, this Buch visits the places where the author spent his youth: the monastery La Sainte Baume, where he first learned French; Marseille, where his father was the German consul; and Sanary-sur-Mer, where the narrator pursues the traces of prominent writers-in-exile – Brecht, Feuchtwanger, Thomas and Heinrich Mann.
Gradually, the path of memory leads us into fiction. H.C. Buch metamorphoses: he becomes Count Dracula, travelling through time, or the husband of a voodoo goddess. In Haiti – the focal point of Buch’s real and literary existence – he is confronted with the consequences of the catastrophic 2010 earthquake. The country as he knew it no longer exists. The loss of the past is clearly apparent, and Buch finally begins to face his own mortality. After his death, Judith, his ex-wife, decides to travel in his place. Finally, she recovers him in the Latin America of magic realism.
Buch’s novel is a game of literary deception. The text is split into a kaleidoscope of different stories and repeatedly mirrored in the narratives of literary characters and role models. In this way it gradually spirals in to converge on the real life of the author, without ever laying claim to biographical authenticity. Buch paints life as a journey into the realm of the dead and a quest for God. His protagonist and narrator becomes one of the living dead: filled with lightness, yet condemned to repeat the errors and mistakes he made during his lifetime.
In 1963, at the age of 19, Hans Christoph Buch became the youngest-ever member of the influential German literary association »Gruppe 47«. He has written numerous political reports and essays, primarily about Caribbean and African conflict zones. His previous publications with the Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt are the novella »Tod in Habana« and the novel »Reise um die Welt in acht Nächten«. Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt also published »Elf Arten, das Eis zu brechen« (2016) and the essay »Boat People. Literatur als Geisterschiff« (2014).
Mara, a writer, has been returning to the same little Croatian island for years now. She loves its smell – of sun, sea, salt and rosemary – and the caprices of its changing winds. But this summer is different. The wind bora is stormier than usual, and the equilibrium of Mara’s life has also been disturbed. One morning Andrej arrives on the island, a photographer who travels restlessly around the world. Like so many people from the island, his parents fled Tito’s dictatorship in the 1960s, emigrating to Hoboken, New Jersey. Mara and Andrej become close, but as Mara probes deeper and deeper into Andrej’s family story of rootlessness and yearning for a sense of home, both are forced to make a decision.
In high-resolution images, Ruth Cerha tells of two seekers who meet and find themselves unexpectedly confronted with the possibility of great love. »Bora. A Story of the Wind« is a novel of wild beauty: it examines, with great sensitivity, the risks of true closeness, and what it means to feel at home.
Ruth Cerha, born in Vienna in 1963, studied psychology and was a musician and composer with a number of bands before starting to write prose in 2004. Following her short story collection, »The Song of the Wheels on the Rails« (2007), and her novels »Head Out of the Clouds« (2010) and »One-Tenth Brothers« (2012), Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt published her novel »Bora. A Story of the Wind« (2015), for which she was awarded the Austrian State Scholarship for Literature.
The heroine of the novel is a modern woman who wants it all: family as well as a career as a successful opera singer. But all of a sudden, her ex-husband crosses her boundaries. She cracks up, celebrates, drinks, takes drugs, forgets the children in a hotel. A breathless search begins.
As she wakes up, she finds herself on the bed of a hotel room. The curtains float into the room like clouds in the sky. What the hell is she doing here? As if someone had pressed a reset button, all her memories are gone. Only slowly drizzling back into her consciousness. But then reality hits her like a stroke: She is a mum of two small children! She remembers having been at the opera, but what happened after that? One thing is for sure: she needs to find them, quickly.
A breathless search begins: She is running. She is chasing down streets. She has to get a grip on her life again and finally get the leading role in the opera.
The reader follows the heroine on her odyssey, driven by her concern for her children, in which everything is at stake: the well-being of her kids; her concept of her self, the idea that she has to combine being a career woman and mother; her feeling of having to defend herself against the self-sacrifice that everyday life as a single parent demands of her. A homeless person jumps in as a nanny, the ex-husband is replaced by a dog. She has had enough of pleasing everyone, which is why »About to burst« is the fast-paced liberation story of a mother on the verge of a nervous breakdown. It is a novel about the maternal instinct, lust, fear of failure, breakdown and self-assertion.
Julia Malik was born in Berlin. After finishing her acting studies at the »Hochschule für Musik und Theater« in Hamburg, she worked at various theatres, including the »Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg« and the »Thalia Theater Hamburg«, the »Schauspielhaus Hannover« and the »Theatre National du Luxembourg«. Julia Malik is working as an actress in film and TV productions and plays the violin in the Berlin band »Hands up-excitement«. She lives in Berlin.
»Book Four is a piece of program music – a globally considered lyrical report.« Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
»Book Four « / »Buch Vier« starts in September 2001 right in the middle of a typhoon in the Taiwanese metropolis of Taipeh, the CNN-pictures of 9/11 in the background, and ends in New York before Ground Zero. Infused with the traumatic beginning of the new century Gräf's poems position poetry as a contemporary art form. In four chapters, between the southeast asian upbeat and the American finale, the old world, Venice, Rome and Vézelay in particular, is being explored.
At their centre, the poems deal with death, from which a life and its meaning can be conceived. The art historian Winckelmann, the poet and filmmaker Pasolini, the radical left-wing publisher Feltrinelli, the fascist dictator Mussolini and the Black Muslim icon Malcolm X – they all have in common a mysterious, iridescent untimely end.
Dieter M. Gräf, born in 1960, lives in Berlin.
Rights sold to: Turkey (Ilksatır Publishing)
›US Jury Pick‹ of New Books In German
Gutekunst Prize Of The Friends Of Goethe
Three Women. Three Political Upheavals. Three Fates – a stirring family novel full of emotional warmth, empathy and a zest for storytelling
Cigarettes, cognac and books – the last few years in her Parisian apartment, centenarian Lucile prefers to spend her time reading in bed. Shortly after Lucile's death, her daughter Marie also dies. What remains is the apartment on the Avenue de Flandre and the memories of two independent women, scarred by life. Lisa, Marie's daughter, who lives in Berlin, wants to make a clean break and sell the apartment. The relationship between her mother and grandmother was explosive – Lucile, a Pied-Noir from Tunisia, had to return to France with her two daughters after independence. She was a strong, but self-absorbed woman – something Lisa knew from her own experience, but above all from her mother. Marie had never recovered from the loss of her homeland. Her painful return to France, her first dramatic love in Paris in May 1968, her flight from Lucille's attacks to Berlin – she told Lisa everything. But, can Lisa really believe her mother's stories? While the protests of the Nuit Debout Movement rage in the streets in 2016, Lisa vacates her Paris apartment and tries to trace the relationship between her mother and grandmother. But the deeper she goes, the greater her doubts that there is any truth to her family.
Elsa Koester portrays three women of strong character whose fates are marked by social upheaval and crisis. The incredible lightness with which she interweaves the perspectives of three generations, the individuality of the characters and the author's socially perceptive view make this novel an unforgettable reading experience.
»An absorbing family saga that readers will be unable to put down. Couscous with Cinnamon explores the fascinating lives of its strong female characters, as well as the emotional connections that bond the family together. ›Couscous with Cinnamon‹ combines sharp insights into different European cultures and histories with distinctive and appealing characters whose stories are intertwined in a moving and mesmerising read.« New Books In German, US Jury Pick
Elsa Koester was born in 1984 in Berlin, the daughter of a French Pied-Noir with Tunisian colonial history and a North German Frisian with US-American emigration history. She studied literature, political science, and sociology. She lives in Berlin as a political journalist. newly reignited debate about identity and homeland inspired her novel debut Couscous with Cinnamon, which draws on her experience as a journalist and activist with a diverse cultural background.
Rights sold to: The Netherlands (Lebowski)
As he sets out to bring to life the eros of childhood and youth within an autobiographical novel, Bodo Kirchhoff takes us into narrow-minded, penny-pinching post-war Germany. It is these decades of dusk, these decades of turmoil, that will ultimately turn the boy into a writer.
Whose voice is it we hear when someone tells a tale from way back when? From the very same room in a small hotel by the sea, his parents had occupied decades earlier, when they’d still helped themselves to large servings of bliss, the last few of those, in fact, before they’d separated, the writer seeks to explore the emergence of his sexuality. And while he does employ professional distance in the telling of the story of his youth, putting it out there for anyone to claim, this story also remains the very path that took him into writing in the first place.
In »Dusk and Turmoil«, Bodo Kirchhoff, approaches early biographical themes within the framework of a novel, telling his own but also his parent’s stories. The beautiful young actress from Vienna and the dashing one-legged young man from Hannover who is talented but penniless – a match made by the war. Both are determined to escape the plight of these times, each in their own way. The marriage is doomed and the narrator sent off to boarding school at eleven, a dramatic escalation of small events, once again beyond all that is conceivable through language, a dance on an alluring blade of violence.
With this most recent work, Bodo Kirchhoff continues his grand literary project to consolidate language and sexuality to a point where neither will expose the other as he tells a story of eros throughout childhood and adolescence, a story of what was and what it inspired.
Bodo Kirchhoff, born in 1948, is one of the most important and well-known authors of the contemporary German literature. His novels »Desire and Melancholy« (2014) and »Love in Broad Strokes« (2012) were published with Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt and celebrated by readers and critics alike. His novella »Widerfahrnis« has been awarded the German Book Prize 2016 and the Dutch edition (Lebowski 2017) has been longlisted for the Europese Literatuurprijs 2018. The Chinese translation of »Widerfahrnis« was announced as the 21st Century Best Foreign Novel of the Year 2017.
»Bodo Kirchhoff is an author who succeeds in everything: Writing great dialogues. Creating scenes, developing them and, with a dreamlike sureness, interrupting them at the right time. He also has a language of rare and traditional elegance. Entirely great literature.« ZEIT online
The international bestseller of the award-winning author: more than one million copies sold worldwide!
The English edition, published by Scribe, was awarded The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation, nominated for the 2020 International Booker Prize and won the PEN translates award 2016.
BDI Literature Prize of the Association of Arts and Culture of the German Economy 2015, Anna Seghers Literature Prize 2015, Bertolt Brecht Literature Prize 2018, Schiller Memorial Prize 2019
Sold to: United Kingdom, Australia & USA (Scribe), Armenia (Antares), Spain & Latin America (Alfaguara), Estonia (Rahva Raamat), France (Gallimard), Catalan language (Navona), Italy (Marsilio), The Netherlands (Atlas contact), Norway (Aschehoug), Denmark (Gutkind), Sweden (it-lit), China (Xiron), Czech Republic (Host), Croatia (Fraktura), Poland (Otwarte), Georgia (Intelekti), Bulgaria (Paradox), Hungary (Európa), Romania (Editura Trei), Russia (AST), Ukraine (Komora), Lithuania (Alma Littera), Serbia (Booka), Slovenia (Mladinska knjiga), Marco Polo Publishing (Korea), Saudi Arabia (Athar), Finnland (Aula & Co), Slovakia (Inaque)
»The Eighth Life (For Brilka)« is an epochal novel about a family, a powerfully written epos about eight exceptional lives in the vicissitudes of Georgian-Russian War and Revolution.
Georgia in 1900: Stasia, daughter of a chocolate factory‘s owner, and her three sisters grow up in the upper echelons of Georgian society. She dreams of a life in Paris and a career in ballet but at 17 marries a White Guard soldier. When Stalin becomes the sole leader of the Soviet Union, the socialist squads enjoy the good life, whilst the country’s impoverished population suffers. Stasia and her children Kitty and Kostja seek shelter in the house of Stasia’s sister Christine in Tbilisi. But when Stalin’s right-hand man Lawrenti Beria takes notice of Chistine’s astonishing beauty and unworldly manner, it has disastrous consequences …
Germany in 2006: After the fall of the Iron Curtain Niza, Stasia’s brilliant great-granddaughter, has broken with her family and moved to Berlin. When her twelve-year-old niece Brilka runs away during a trip to the west, Niza has to care about her. In search for her own identity, she will tell Brilka the whole story: about Stasia, silently affronting history, about Christine, who paid dearly for her beauty, about Kitty, who lost everything and still found a voice in London. And about the secret recipe for the family’s Hot Chocolate, which has offered both salvation and misfortune for six generations.
Nino Haratischwili, born in Georgia in 1983, is an award-winning novelist, playwright and director. In 2010 her debut »Juja« was nominated for the German Book Prize. The following year, »My Gentle Twin« won the Independent Publishers’ Hotlist Prize and has been sold to several countries. »The Eighth Life (For Brilka)« has been awarded the prestigious Literature Prize of the Association of Arts and Culture of the German Economy 2015, the Anna Seghers Literature Prize 2015, the Hertha Koenig Prize 2017, the Fellowship of the Lessing Prize 2017 , the Bertolt Brecht Literature Prize 2018 and the Schiller Memorial Prize 2019. The Dutch edition (Atlas contact 2016) has been longlisted for the Europese Literatuurprijs 2018. On top of that, the English translation by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin (Scribe), already selected for the PEN Translates award 2016, was nominated for the prestigious 2020 International Booker Prize.
Jürgen Ponto Prize for Best Debut 2015
18-year-old Marie is deeply disappointed by life. She feels not belonging to the world. She loathes the evenings with her housemates, and can’t stand the advice that Sarah, the well-meaning medical attendant, tries to offer. Psychiatric hospital was even worse: she never wants to go there again, and this is the only reason she accepts the deal offered to her by her therapist, Willi. He promises to keep her out of medical institutions if she gives her word that she will attend every single one of her therapy sessions with him. Above all, she also has to promise that she won’t contemplate suicide for at least one year. On one of her visits to Willi’s office Marie meets Emanuel. Despite her conviction that people her own age are idiots, and the concern that Emanuel may be even more damaged than she is, she agrees to go on a date. They become involved and Marie mentions her desire to end her life. They make an outrageous agreement – but the results are quite different from what either of them expect ...
Sandra Weihs, born in Klagenfurt in 1983, lives in Upper Austria and Vienna. She studied social work, and works with deprived children, adolescents and families. Her debut novel, »Das grenzenlose Und« (»The Limitless And«), was awarded the 2015 literary prize of the Jürgen Ponto Foundation.
A youth spent in late 1980s Soviet Union, a story of love and disappointment, of farewell and departure. Anna Galkina's perspective on the harsh realities of life in Russia is so unrelenting and fearless that it goes straight to the heart.
Tamara, the matronly director of a library who is revitalized by her relationship with the sickly Wiktor; Sergej with his faux leather sandals whose barn is a popular hangout for the youth; and the three “sluts”: Lena with her mustache, Dina whose father is in jail and Oksana who is an expert when it comes to abortions.
Nastja has been observing them ever since she was a little girl. She lives with her mother and grandmother in a small town not far from Moscow that is long past its prime. Meat and dairy products are just as hard to come by as a private telephone line or running water. The residents dwell in small wooden shacks, surrounded by buckets and canning jars, they drink bitter beer and moonshine, they curse and delight, they love and hit each other. At first, the narrator Nastja seems to be above it all, but then she is sucked right into the pop-up panorama of the Russian province. She lives through stories full of poetry and violence, tragedy and humor, episodes with unknown outcomes – until she falls in love with the young soldier Dima and it seems as though her life is about to take an unexpected turn.
»The Cold Light of Distant Stars« is an unusual and vibrant debut, an outstanding novel of rare charm. Anna Galkina’s voice is both adamant and lighthearted and she tells the tales of her protagonists with such great warmth and humor that they continue to resonate for a long time.
Anna Galkina, born and raised in Moscow, came to Germany with her parents in 1996. After receiving a degree in computer science she has been working as a software test engineer, a painter and a photographer. Anna Galkina currently lives in Bonn and writes in German. »The Cold Light of Distant Stars« is her first novel, in 2017 Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt has published her second novel »The New Life«.
»An adolescent journey during the year 1989: Susanne Gregor’s supremely readable novel gives readers an exceptional insight into an important chapter of recent European history« New Books in German
Miša, Rita and Slavka have been friends for as long as they can remember. They all live in the same house in the city of Žilina: Miša, the 14-year-old narrator, and her family in the middle, Rita, also 14, in the apartment above, and Slavka in the apartment underneath. They confide their secrets in one another and speak about their first loves. And yet, they could scarcely be more different. Rita is a staunch Youth Pioneer, which makes her parents’ confidential plan to escape to Austria seem all the more scandalous. Rita is outraged: she doesn’t want to end up like Slavka whose father absconded to Sweden 10 years ago. Slavka cares little for politics. Rather, she is interested in the new history teacher, Comrade Baník, and in gymnastics, her real passion. Miša is the most sensitive of the three. Her love is literature, which nobody – least of all her father – can really understand. Miša has the feeling that life will always continue on in the same manner. The opposite is the case: It is 1989 and nothing will ever be as it was.
Three friends and their families experience the year before the collapse of the Socialist regime in Slovakia. Opportunism or rebellion; adaption or revolt – the girls on the brink of adulthood and their parents, each face socialism’s decline in their own way.
In precise, elegant language Susanne Gregor insightfully explores the external and internal worlds of the three young friends. By means of small shifts, she allows huge transformations to become tangible and with a steady hand, leads the reader through the seasons of the year 1989. It is »The Last Red Year.«
Susanne Gregor, born in 1981 in Žilina (Czechoslovakia), moved with her family to Austria in 1990. Since 2005, Gregor lives in Vienna where she teaches German as a foreign language. In 2009, she received the ›Hohenemser Literaturpreis‹ Advancement Award and the ›exil-literaturpreis‹ in 2010. Her debut novel »No Place of One’s Own« was published in 2011, the novel »Territories« in 2015 and the short story collection »Under Water« in 2018.