Rainald Goetz, Büchner Prize 2015

Adrian Nathan West

Rainald Goetz doing his thing Rainald Goetz doing his thing

It was announced yesterday that Rainald Goetz had won the 2015 Georg Büchner Prize, joining the storied ranks of Paul Celan, Friederike Mayröcker, and Elias Canetti, among others. The choice is a somewhat controversial one: Shigekuni, who knows more about German literature than I do, declared Lutz Seiler and Marcel Beyer of more merit, while the equally knowledgeable Katy Derbyshire, whose post about her ill-fated choice to go to a Rainald Goetz reading would make a lovely short film, hints that he may be a men’s writer (this is particularly worth noting since women seem in general to get short shrift at the Büchner, winning around 12% of the time).

Though the word “deserve” is almost meaningless and the idea of awarding literary performance a highly suspect one, particularly given the well-documented behind-the-scenes chicanery among literary prize juries and the dismaying degree to…

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