Language artist and cross-border traveler: Austrian writer Clemens J. Seitz received the 2021 Georg Büchner Prize.
“With Clemens J. Seitz, the German Academy of Language and Poetry honors a language artist who has frequently explored regions of human frontiers with his novels and stories,” the jury said in support of the decision.
The unsettling drama of the 38-year-old artist sticks to the heart of the present day as it follows a deeply human impulse.
“I never thought he’d come so soon.”
Setz reacted with fear to receive the most prestigious literary award. “The name of George Büchner and the winners of the last few years to see themselves inscribed in this honour, I absolutely cannot believe it,” he told dpa.
At first he didn’t believe it at all. “I never thought it would come so early in life.” Maybe at 70 or so, that was unexpected. Some of the previous winners are role models for him. Without it, he would not have started writing.
Diverse work, multifaceted author
In 2007, Setz’s first novel, Sons and Planets, was published, in 2009 his second novel, Die Frequenzen, and again two years later the short story book Die Liebe zur Zeit des Mahlstädter Kind.
This was followed by Indigo (2012) and his 1,000-page work The Clock Between Woman and Guitar (2015). In addition to the prose texts, Seitz also published the volume of poems “Die Vogelstrausstrompete”.
Finally, from Setz «Bot. Unauthorized talk (2018), The Consolation of Round Things (2019) and The Bee and the Invisible (2020) have been published.
The German Academy of Language and Poetry has awarded the €50,000 prize since 1951 to writers who write in German.
Prize winners must “distinguish in a special way by their works and works” and “have an essential role in shaping contemporary German cultural life”.
Prize winners include Max Frisch (1958), Günter Grass (1965), Heinrich Böll (1967), and most recently since 2015 Reynald Goetz, Marcel Baer, Jan Wagner, Theresia Mora, Lucas Parvus and, last year, Elk Erb.
The last 10 Buechner Prize winners