Worldwide Booker Prize 2024: German win for Kairos

German author Jenny Erpenbeck and translator Michael Hofmann have gained the Worldwide Booker Prize.

Their novel Kairos follows the harmful love affair between a 19-year-old pupil and a married man in his 50s who meet on a bus in East Berlin round 1986.

Their relationship involves embody the German Democratic Republic’s “crushed idealism” and eventual “dissolution of an entire political system”.

They are going to break up the £50,000 prize.

Judges selected Kairos from a shortlist of six books and praised the “luminous prose” and wealthy high quality of the interpretation.

“It begins with love and keenness, nevertheless it’s at the least as a lot about energy, artwork and tradition,” chair of judges Eleanor Wachtel mentioned.

“The self-absorption of the lovers, their descent right into a harmful vortex, stays related to the bigger historical past of East Germany throughout this era, usually assembly historical past at odd angles.”

Final yr’s winner, Time Shelter by Bulgarian creator Georgi Gospodinov and translated by Angela Rodel, was additionally set throughout and after the autumn of the Iron Curtain.

Erpenbeck, 57, was born in Berlin and used to work as an opera director earlier than turning into an award-winning novelist. Her works embody The Finish of Days (2014) and Go, Went, Gone (2017) which was longlisted in 2018.

Hofmann, 66, has been known as “arguably the world’s most influential translator, exterior of German into English”. Together with poetry and literary criticism, he teaches part-time on the College of Florida.

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