Kleist Prize 2023: Award goes to writer and musician Thomas Kunst

This year’s Kleist Prize goes to the writer and musician Thomas Kunst (“Zandschower Klinken”). The 57-year-old is to receive the award, which is endowed with 20,000 euros, on November 26 in the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, as the Heinrich von Kleist Society announced on Thursday. Born in Stralsund, Kunst lives and works in Leipzig.

Traditionally, a person of trust chosen by the jury of the Heinrich von Kleist Society decides on the Kleist Prize. This year it was the author Feridun Zaimoglu.

In his justification, Zaimoglu wrote: “Thomas Kunst is the most language-obsessed and heart-crazed German poet of our time.” In his poems and novels, he dared to break with the usual and always the same. Art transcends imaginary boundaries. “He’s East German and sophisticated, brilliant and resistant to the present.” He doesn’t let himself be “seduced by the compulsion to be up-to-date”.

The poetic work of Thomas Kunst has already received several awards, including the Dresden Poetry Prize (1996), the Villa Massimo grant in 2003, the F. C. Weiskopf Prize from the Berlin Academy of Arts (2004), the Meran Poetry Prize ( 2014) or the Walter Bauer Prize (2018). His novel “Zandschower Klinken” was shortlisted for the German Book Prize 2021.

Bertolt Brecht, Robert Musil and Anna Seghers have already received the Kleist Prize. Since it was re-established in 1985, prize winners have included Alexander Kluge, Heiner Müller, Ernst Jandl, Monika Maron, Herta Müller, Daniel Kehlmann, Monika Rinck and Yoko Tawada. (dpa)

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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