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Antje Rávik Strubel receives the German Book Prize 2021 for her novel “Blaue Frau” (“Blue Woman”)


The winner of the German Book Prize 2021 is Antje Rávik Strubel for her novel “Blaue Frau” (S. Fischer).

Statement from the jury:
“With existential force and poetic precision, Antje Rávik Strubel describes a young woman’s escape from her memories of being raped. Layer by layer, this unsettling novel exposes what happened. The story of female self-empowerment expands into a reflection on competing cultures of memory in Eastern and Western Europe and the power imbalance between the sexes.

In a tentative narrative movement, Antje Rávik Strubel succeeds in giving voice to what is actually unspeakable about a traumatic experience. In her dialogue with the mythical figure of the Blue Woman, the narrator sums up her interventional poetics: literature as a fragile counterforce against injustice and violence in the face of despair.”

The members of the jury for the German Book Prize 2021 are: Knut Cordsen (culture editor, Bayerischer Rundfunk), Bettina Fischer (director Literaturhaus Köln), Anja Johannsen (director Literarisches Zentrum Göttingen), Richard Kämmerlings (literary correspondent, Die Welt), Sandra Kegel (head of literature and arts section, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), Beate Scherzer (bookseller, Proust Wörter + Töne) and Anne-Catherine Simon (editor of literature and arts section, Die Presse).

The other novels that were shortlisted for the award are:
Norbert Gstrein: Der zweite Jakob (Carl Hanser), Monika Helfer: Vati (Carl Hanser), Christian Kracht: Eurotrash (Kiepenheuer & Witsch), Thomas Kunst: Zandschower Klinken (Suhrkamp) and Mithu Sanyal: Identitti (Carl Hanser).

The Stiftung Buchkultur und Leseförderung des Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (Foundation for Book Culture and the Promotion of Reading of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association) awards the German Book Prize 2021 to the best German-language novel of the year. The Deutsche Bank Stiftung (Deutsche Bank Foundation) is the main sponsor of the German Book Prize, and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and city of Frankfurt am Main are also partners. The television network Deutsche Welle supports the German Book Prize in its media activities both at home and abroad.

A press photo of the winner will be available for download at approx. 8 p.m. at

Frankfurt am Main, 18 October 2021

Contacts for the media:
Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels e.V.
Thomas Koch, Head of Press and Public Relations
Tel. +49 (0) 69 1306-293, e-mail:

Marie Böhlke, Junior PR Manager
Tel. +49 (0) 69 1306-292, e-mail: