Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding goes to Klaus-Michael Bogdal for Europe Invents the Gypsies


The 2013 Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding goes to the German literary scholar Klaus-Michael Bogdal for his book »Europe Invents the Gypsies: A Story of Fascination and Contempt«

The jury issued the following statement: The 2013 Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding is awarded to the literary scholar Klaus-Michael Bogdal (Bielefeld) for his groundbreaking work »Europe Invents the Gypsies«, which explores six centuries of persecution and marginalisation of Sinti and Roma in Europe. Bogdal’s study is the first comprehensive, comparative analysis of the representation of ‘Gypsies’, ‘Zigeuner’, ‘Bohémiens’ and ‘Gitanos’ in European literature and art from the late middle ages to the present. It traces the gradual formation of an historical prejudice against an imaginary collective, which, lacking writers of its own, was helpless in the face of the interpretations, ascriptions and projections of others. Bogdal demonstrates how Europe secured its own status as civilised and cultivated by denigrating the Roma through a combination of hatred, fear and romanticised gypsy-folklore. Particularly in the light of the current resurgence of antiziganism in Europe, Bogdal’s landmark study is especially timely and urgent.

Klaus-Michael Bogdal studied philosophy and German and Slavic literature. He teaches at the University of Bielefeld, where he has been professor of Germanic language and literature since 2002.

The Leipzig Book Prize will be presented to Klaus-Michael Bogdal on the occasion of the opening of the Leipzig Book Fair on 13 March 2013 at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig. The prize, which has been presented annually since 1994, carries a value of 15.000 euros. The Awards Committee is made up of the Free State of Saxony, the City of Leipzig, the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, and the Leipziger Messe GmbH. Recent recipients of the prize include Martin Pollack, György Dalos, Karl Schlögel, and Gert Maak.

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Europe Invents the Gypsies
Klaus-Michael Bogdal
Europe Invents the Gypsies