Jenny Erpenbeck is the first German to be awarded the International Booker Prize. The writer and opera director received this year’s prize for the English translation of her novel “Kairos” together with translator Michael Hofmann, with whom she shares the prize money of 50,000 pounds (around 58,500 euros). Hofmann is the first male translator to be awarded the prize, which has been awarded since 2016. “I am very honored,” said Erpenbeck at the awards ceremony in London.

The novel revolves around the love affair between a young student and a much older, married writer in East Berlin during the last years of the GDR. However, the relationship between the two, inspired by their shared love of music and art, is falling apart, just as the state around them is crumbling.

The jury said the book was exceptional because it was “both beautiful and unpleasant, personal and political.” Erpenbeck invites us to make a connection between political developments that defined generations and a destructive, even brutal love affair. The International Booker Prize is one of the most prestigious literary prizes in Great Britain. Foreign language works that have been translated into English are honored.