, 21. June 2017
"Als sähe man die Welt zum ersten Mal"

Georg Büchner Prize 2017 for Jan Wagner

The German Academy for Language and Literature announced on Tuesday that the lyricist Jan Wagner is beeing awarded the Georg Büchner Prize. The 50,000 Euro prize is the most important literary award in Germany.

x-working Jan Wagner at the Leipzig Book Fair 2015, © CC0 1.0/Wikimedia
Jan Wagner at the Leipzig Book Fair 2015, © CC0 1.0/Wikimedia

On 11th August 1923, the Georg Büchner Prize was placed for the first time. Poets, artists, actors and singers had the opportunity to be honoured with the prize due to outstanding achievements. Since 1951, the German Academy for Language and Poetry has beeing awarding the literary prize in Darmstadt.

The jury explained its decision with the "playful language and masterly form domination, musical sensuality and intellectual sententiousness". It is also stated in the explanatory memorandum: "From curious, sensitive investigations of the little and the individual, with a sense for subterranean interconnections and with an inexhaustible fantasy, they allow the emergence of moments in which the world shows itself as if it would be seen for the first time."

Jan Wagner was born in 1971 in Hamburg. After studying English, he continued to work on poems, essays, critiques, anthologies and translations of contemporary anglophone lyricism.

In 2001, his lyrical premiere called "Probebohrungen im Himmel" (“Test Drilling in the Sky”) was released. The poems „Guerickes Sperling“ (2004), „Eighteen Pastries“ (2007), „Australia“ (2010) and „The Owlhasters in the Hall Houses“ (2012) were published afterwards. He received the Leipzig Book Fair Prize in 2014 for the publication of "Regentonnenvariationen" (“Rain Barrel Variations”), his most important success so far. Last year, ""Selbstporträt mit Bienenschwarm. Ausgewählte Gedichte 2001-2015" ("Self-portrait with a Beehive Selected Poems 2001-2015”) came out.

Now the lyric poet Jan Wagner fits into the circle of famous writers. Marcel Beyer won the Büchner Prize last year. In 2015, the honour was provided the Berlin writer Rainald Goetz. Great names of German literature are also among the awardees. For example Erich Kästner (1957), Heinrich Böll (1967) or Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1986).

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