Dublin City Council announces Marzahn, Mon Amour by Katja Oskamp translated by Jo Heinrich as winner of the
2023 Dublin Literary Award
Thursday 25th May 2023: German author Katja Oskamp and English translator Jo Heinrich have been announced today as winners of the 2023 Dublin Literary Award, sponsored by Dublin City Council, for the novel Marzahn, Mon Amour (published by Peirene Press). The Award is the world’s largest prize for a single novel published in English.
Uniquely, the Award receives its nominations from public libraries around the world and recognises both writers and translators. Author Katja Oskamp receives €75,000 and Jo Heinrich, as translator, receives €25,000. Marzahn, Mon Amour is the 11th novel in translation to win the Dublin Literary Award.
The winning title was announced today at a special event, at International Literature Festival Dublin, which runs until 28th May. Lord Mayor and Patron of the Award, Caroline Conroy made the announcement and Dublin City Librarian, presented the prizes to Katja and Jo at the International Literature Festival Dublin Literary Village in Merrion Square Park.
Lord Mayor of Dublin Caroline Conroy said “Marzahn, Mon Amour is a beautifully written novel. It’s a warm, witty and moving portrait of older residents in Berlin, which offers the reader an insight into a community often overlooked. I’d like to congratulate Katja Oskamp and Jo Heinrich on winning the 2023 Dublin Literary Award and to thank everyone involved in the award – writers, translators, librarians, publishers and the administrative staff of Dublin City Council.”
“I offer my congratulations to the Dublin Literary Award winners 2023 for Marzahn, Mon Amour, said Owen Keegan, Chief Executive, Dublin City Council. Through its public libraries, the City Council is committed to the Dublin Literary Award,which recognises great story-telling across the globe.”
Nominated by Stadtbüchereien Düsseldorf in Germany, the winning novel was chosen from a shortlist of six novels by writers from Croatia, Mexico, Germany, United States and Canada/Vietnam.
The longlist of 70 titles was nominated by 84 libraries from 31 countries.
Winner Katja Oskamp commented that ‘This prize honours my work as a writer and as a chiropodist in the most wonderful way possible. I am proud that the jury’s decision draws attention to the moving biographies of my East German compatriots.’
Translator, Jo Heinrich said ‘I can’t get over the warm reception this book has had, and the way people have really taken it into their hearts. The last few weeks have been mind-blowing for a newbie translator; my concentration span has been decidedly lacking since I heard we’d be here in Dublin – but this is the absolute high point of my life, and I really cannot thank you all enough.’
Katja Oskamp and Jo Heinrich will appear at ILFDublin, for an in-depth conversation about the novel, with broadcaster Rick O’Shea, tomorrow evening (Friday 26th May) at 6.15pm in Merrion Square Park (Speranza stage).
Book to attend in person or online:
Copies of the winning title are available to borrow from Dublin City Libraries and from public libraries throughout Ireland. Readers can also borrow the winning novel on BorrowBox in eBook format. Further details about the Award and the winning novel are available on the Award website at www.dublinliteraryaward.ie
The 2023 Judging Panel, led by Professor Chris Morash of Trinity College Dublin, and includes Gabriel Gbadamosi, Marie Hermet, Sarah Moss, Arunava Sinha and Doireann Ní Ghríofa, commented:
“Every so often, you come across a novel whose simple, direct honesty knocks you sideways. There is an unaffected humility and generosity about Katja Oskamp’s Marzhan, Mon Amour that speaks to the value of community and to the dignity of ordinary lives. ‘The love I have inside me has turned to liquid,’ concludes the novel’s narrator, ‘and now runs into the most unlikely places’. To read Marzhan, Mon Amour in Jo Heinrich’s translation from the German is to feel Katja Oskamp’s all-encompassing embrace of her world.”
Watch an extract performed by Aenne Barr –
Katja Oskamp was born in 1970 in Leipzig and grew up in Berlin. After completing her degree in theatre studies, she worked as a playwright at the Volkstheater Rostock and went on to study at the German Literature Institute. Her debut collection of stories, Halbschwimmer, was published in 2003. In 2007 she published her first novel, Die Staubfängerin. Marzahn, Mon Amour, published by Hanser with the subtitle ‘A Chiropodist’s Tales’, was selected for the ‘Berlin Reads One Book’ campaign and thus literally became the talk of the town. Marzahn, Mon Amour is her first work to be translated into English.
Like the narrator in Marzahn, Mon Amour, Jo Heinrich found her ideal career in her middle years, and graduated in 2018 with a distinction in her MA in Translation from the University of Bristol. She was shortlisted for the 2020 Austrian Cultural Forum London Translation Prize and the 2019 John Dryden Translation Competition. She translates from French and German, and she lives just outside Bristol with her family. Marzahn, Mon Amour is her first literary translation.