11 great German-language authors: Here are the German Book Prize winners

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Frank Witzel

His novel, "The Invention of the Red Army Faction by a Manic-Depressive Teenager in the Summer of 1969," claimed the 2015 German Book Prize on October 12. It tells the coming-of-age story of a 13-year old boy in West Germany in a period marked by Cold War, domestic terrorism and dealings with the past. Despite positive reviews of his work, Witzel had not been considered a favorite.

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Lutz Seiler

Last year, Lutz Seiler won the book prize for "Kruso," his 2014 novel set on the East German resort island of Hiddensee. Seiler recounts the summer of 1989 before the fall of the Berlin Wall from his protagonists point of view. The book is about the search for freedom, about escaping life and communist East Germany. The book is available in German.

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Terézia Mora

"Das Ungeheuer" ("The Monster") won the 2013 award. Terézia Mora writes alternately in the style of a diary and a travelogue, the two separated by a thick black line. She creates a mosaic of autobiographic and medical sketches on depression and estrangement. The book is not yet available in English.

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Ursula Krechel

The 2012 winner, Ursula Krechel traces the life of Richard Kornitzer in "Landgericht" ("District Court"). After WWII, the Jewish judge returned from exile in Cuba because he wanted to work as a judge in Germany again. The author researched the novel for more than 10 years. Her book, she said, is a "memorial to realms of thought and language." It hasn't yet been translated into English.

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Eugen Ruge

Eugen Ruge's 2011 novel surely has the most poetic title: "In Zeiten des abnehmenden Lichts" ("In Times of Fading Light"). The book unfolds a family saga from an East German point of view, spanning from the 1950s to German reunification in 1990 and the start of the new century.

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Melinda Nadj Abonji

"Tauben fliegen auf" ("Fly Away, Pigeon"), the 2010 winner, mirrors the conflicts in Europe after the collapse of Yugoslavia. The novel chronicles a family and its secrets, weaving history and personal fate into a story about the Yugoslav conflict and the Hungarian minority in Serbia's Vojvodina province.

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Kathrin Schmidt

"Du stirbst nicht" ("You're not going to die") in 2009 is about Germany's era of reunification, a crumbling East Germany, and the years before the centennial, seen from the perspective of a woman who awakes from a coma and tries to relearn speech and regain her lost memories. The book is not yet available in English.

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Uwe Tellkamp

In 2008, the jury awarded the prize to a novel about communist East Germany's final years before reunification: Uwe Tellkamps "Der Turm" ("The Tower"). The novel is about a family in Dresden, about adjustment and opposition in an increasingly crackling East Germany. "The Tower" was turned into a film in 2012.

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Julia Franck

"Die Mittagsfrau" (called "The Blind Side of the Heart" in English) is the name of the winning title in 2007. Set in the era of two World Wars, author Julia Franck tells the disturbing story of a woman who abandons her son at a train station. The novel, whose title echoes a Sorbian legend, was translated into 34 languages and sold more than one million copies.

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Katharina Hacker

2006 winner Katharina Hacker recounts stories of young adults in "Die Habenichtse" ("The Have-Nots"), stories about a generation of 30-somethings who know it all - but they don't know themselves. How do they want to live, what are their values, how should they act? Those are the novel's core questions.

Culture

Arno Geiger

In 2005, the very first German Book Prize went to Arno Geiger for "Es geht uns gut" ("We Are Doing Fine"), the story of three generations of a Viennese family. The jury praised the work as an "involuntary family novel," pointing out that Geiger managed to strike a convincing balance between "the transient and the moment, historical and private matters, preservation and oblivion."

These 11 German-language authors have been awarded Germany's most prestigious literature prize: the German Book Prize. It's presented at the Frankfurt Book Fair by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association.