In 1967 Günter Grass publicly acknowledged the great influence that author Alfred Döblin had on his work, in a speech given on the 10th anniversary of Döblin's death, "Über meinen Lehrer Döblin". In 1979 he followed up his words with action, establishing and funding the Alfred-Döblin-Preis, awarded every two years to an unpublished work of prose.
This year's winner, playwright Eugen Ruge, received the honor based on the manuscript of his debut novel, In Zeiten des abnehmenden Lichts, which follows a family of Communists from the 1950s to the years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Ruge was presented with the prize on June 7 at Berlin's Akademie der Künste.
Fellow nominees (chosen from 600 entrants) were Volker H. Altwasser, Zsuzsa Bánk, Thomas Hettche, Harriet Köhler und Michael Roes and you can hear each of them, including Eugen Ruge, read from their entries at literaturport.de. It's a great way to get a glimpse of what authors in Germany are working on, before these works even make it to print.