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Dream Center II, Los Angeles, 2017, Photo: Christian Werner
No Start / No End, Berlin, 2017, Photo: Christian Werner
Pool Cleaner, Los Angeles, 2017, Photo: Christian Werner

2022

Internationaler Literaturpreis 2022

Prize for Contemporary Literature in Translation

Award Ceremony June 22, 2022

Six books as accurate as real life: The titles on this year’s shortlist take a critical and insightful look at the now.

Award winners 2022

The 14th Internationaler Literaturpreis goes to Cristina Morales and Friederike von Criegern for the novel Leichte Sprache (Easy Reading) and its translation from Spanish. Cristina Morales receives a prize of 20,000 €, Friederike von Criegern receives a prize of 15,000 €.

Leichte Sprache is about the self-assertion of four women with cognitive impairment who live in an assisted-living apartment in gentrified Barcelona.

Leichte Sprache is a multiple-voiced first-person narrative, a court transcript, a conversation log, an easy reading novel, a fanzine; a porous ensemble of forms and characters. This novel is not an inclusion fairy tale; it is a list of demands. It insists on naming differences, on clarity, it insists on the need to hate, on vitality, surprise and revolt. Leichte Sprache is a declaration of love for politicization, but also for dance and desire. It forces us to readjust terminologies and attributions. Our decision to give the prize to this book is a declaration of love to the book and its protagonists, to the fierceness with which they react to restrictions, humiliations and disenfranchisement.

This is a book of many voices, whose tone often shifts quickly. Role prose by characters about whom we know that linguistic power and elegance are not their goal, perhaps not even their ability, whose use of language is thus fragile from the outset. One can hardly imagine a greater challenge for a translator. The discipline with which Friederike von Criegern has taken on this task is prize-worthy.

Cristina Morales’s book is a liberating blow because it demonstrates the strength that our fragility can produce, the toughness that is grounded in our experienced, witnessed or even anticipated violability. It presents us with a liberatingly altered view of the world, a radicality that has only become possible through the recognition of our own violability.

– Robin Detje and Heike Geißler for the jury