Heimito von Doderer-Gesellschaft

Heimito von Doderer Prize for Literature 2001











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Heimito von Doderer Prize for Literature 2001

This year's Heimito von Doderer Prize for Literature has been awarded to Galsan Chinag. This author, writing in German and living in Ulan Bator, has created a significant body of prose work—novels, stories, sketches, and essays—marked by a tonality not encountered elsewhere in German literature and by a view of the world that enriches in many ways the linguistic map where German is spoken. In a series of novels with a strongly autobiographical tinge, as in his latest short novel Doynaa, and above all in the trilogy Blue Sky, Gray Earth, and White Mountain, Chinag portrays the fate of a Tuva Mongol whose tribe is flung headlong into the modern world—first into Stalinism then into capitalism—and is forced to experience profound changes in its ways of living and thinking. Galsan Chinag was sent to Leipzig to learn German in 1964; during his six years there, he decided to become a German-language writer and to articulate for all people the fate of his tribe, the Turkic-speaking Tuvas.

Erika Fuchs, a translator living in Munich, was awarded a special prize for her contribution to the development of the German language. The prize is based on her many years of work as a translator of Donald Duck stories, especially those written and drawn by the recently deceased Carl Barks. The work of this American artist, master of line and word, has been transferred into German with exemplary skill by Erika Fuchs. She has opened up a whole new cosmos, in the process not only creating whole new graphic concepts, names, and expressions but adapting them so naturally in German that they have become totally self-explanatory common property. She has by now made the name of Carl Barks famous in Germany, part of the cultural landscape, although his name was for a long time as unknown as that of his translator.

Both prizes were conferred on September 1, at 6:00 P.M., in the Historic City Hall of Cologne. The one carried an award of 30,000 DM, the other of 10,000 DM.

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