Heimito von Doderer-Gesellschaft

Heimito von Doderer Prize for Literature 2002











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Heimito von Doderer Prize for Literature 2002

This year's Heimito von Doderer Prize for Literature was awarded to the Bavarian cabarettist, writer, and actor Gerhard Polt. The jury paid homage not only to the unsettling complexities and astute-minded, unsparing pointedness of this sixty-year-old artist's dialogues and monologues, and not only to his breathtaking appearances on stage and screen, but above all to his masterful technique—learned from Karl Valentin—of avoiding in his texts and performances all definitions of what it is he does. What links this prizewinner to Heimito von Doderer is his deep mistrust of the bases of the bourgeois world, lower and higher alike, the representatives of which present a picture as comic as it is tragic. Gerhard Polt was born in Munich in 1942, grew up there and in Altötting, and pursued Scandinavian studies in Germany and Sweden. He began finding an audience in the beginning of the 1970s, both on stage and in (as of now four) films of his own. The most comprehensive collection of his texts to date appeared in May, 2002 (Kain & Aber, Zurich) under the title Circus Maximus.

Connected with the Heimito von Doderer Prize for Literature is a Prize for an Emerging Artist, conferred this year on Marica Bodrozic, a writer living in Frankfurt am Main and Paris. Bodrozic, born in the Dalmatian region of Zadvarje in 1973, moved to Germany in 1973. After training as a book dealer, completing her Abitur and pursuing cultural anthropology and Slavic studies, she dedicated herself entirely to writing. She published poems, essays, and a book of stories called Tito ist tot (Tito Is Dead) (Suhrkamp 2002). In those stories she depicts life in the former Yugoslavia from the perspective of a child remembering, with both happiness and fear the earliest years of a youth spent in a Croatian village populated almost completely by women, because the men have all gone to Germany to find menial work as laborers. In the jury's opinion, Bodrozic's sketches, miniatures, her studies of character and social conditions are suffused with a masterful demonstration of what the German language is capable of achieving.

Both prizes were conferred on September 7, at 6:00 P.M., in the piazzetta of the Historic Town Hall in Cologne. They are endowed in the amount of 15,000 and 6,000 Euro respectively.

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