Earlier this year Gulraiz Sharif won the monthly LUCHS award for Ey Hör Mal!, the German edition of his debut novel Listen up!, and now we can finally share that he is also awarded the LUCHS of the year.
Every year DIE ZEIT and Radio Bremen together award the LUCHS to one children’s or young adult book each month of the year, and one of the winners is awarded the LUCHS of the year. This is one of Germany's most prestigious prizes awarded to children's and young adult literature, so we are thrilled to congratulate Gulraiz Sharif, his translators Meike Blatzheim and Sarah Onkels, and his German publishing house Arctis Verlag on this fantastic achievement!
The award will be presented to at the Leipzig book fair in April.
Unique - that's what you can, no, you have to call this impressive debut. Rarely does a novel have such a unique sound; and to translate it into German just as powerfully and convincingly is masterly done: a 15-year-old 'ghetto kid' who says straight out what he thinks. Sometimes hard, sometimes flippant, sometimes affectionate, sometimes downright poetic, but always straightforward, uncompromising - and thus revealing. One should not be fooled by the coarse, direct language: Here, an alert and intelligent observer with a good dose of self-irony asks himself big questions - and passes them on to the readers with heart and humor. Gulraiz Sharif sticks his finger in exactly the right wounds, he shows the breaking points of our supposedly liberal, multi-ethnic immigration societies and deals with major current issues such as racism and classism, queerness and identity. In doing so, Sharif plays subtly and very, very cleverly with the question: Who is allowed and able to speak, how and about what? The author, himself the son of Pakistani immigrants and a full-time teacher, provides plenty of material for self-reflection and further thinking, for doubting and learning. Ey Hör Mal! is a story about tolerance and belonging, about living out clichés and growing beyond them. A socially critical utopia with the best intentions – even if Mahmoud probably would put it differently.