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German Book Prize awarded to Kathrin Schmidt

13th October 2009

Kathrin Schmidt has been awarded the German Book Prize 2009, triumphing over a shortlist which included a recent Nobel Prize winner.

The Berlin-based writer took home the competition's EUR 25,000 (GBP 23,400) cheque for her novel Du Stirbst Nicht (You Are Not Going to Die), which deals with the struggle of a woman who wakes from a coma.

Praising the book's 'great eloquence', the judges commented: 'At times laconically, at times mockingly, at times uncannily, the novel describes the inner world of the sick woman.'

In scooping Germany's most prestigious literary prize, the 51-year-old pipped Herta Muller, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature on October 8th, to the post.

Other candidates on the shortlist included Norbert Scheuer, Clemens J Setz, Stephan Thome and Rainer Merkel.

Gottfried Honnefelder, chair of the German Book Prize Academy, said that making a choice between authors of such quality is never easy, but added: 'The real winner in the case of the German Book Prize is literature itself.'

Last year, Uwe Tellkamp was awarded the accolade for his Der Turm (The Tower), which examines life in East Germany in the 1980s.

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