Ann Cotten

Banned! - An Epic

With numerous illustrations by the author
(German title: Verbannt!)
ca. 168 pages
Ann Cotten
Foto: Ann Cotten
© Inge Zimmermann

Ann Cotten, born in Iowa in 1982, grew up in Vienna. She has been living in Berlin since 2006. In 2011, she spent four months in Nagoya, Japan.

For her first poetry collection, Fremdwörterbuchsonette (2007), she was awarded the Reinhard Preissnitz Prize and the Clemens Brentano Prize for Literature of the city of Heidelberg. For Florida-Räume (2010), she received the Hermann Hesse Literature Prize. In 2014, Ann Cotten was awarded the Adelbert-von-Chamisso-Prize; in 2015, she was the first recipient of the newly founded Klopstock-Prize for Contemporary Literature. In 2017, she was awarded the Hugo-Ball-Prize for her oeuvre

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Longlisted for the Austrian Book Prize 2016


»This is what the revolution could look like.« Ijoma Mangold, DIE ZEIT


Billowing palm trees, a rustle in the celery, a tiger disappears, an atomic bomb detonates in the distance, and a consciousness starts moving backwards. The latter belongs to a TV presenter who has been banished to a deserted island due to numerous instances of grave misconduct, equipped with (as per her own choice) a knife, a grindstone and Meyers Konversations-Lexikon.

But she is not alone. There are already twenty-five sailors inhabiting the island. Since they suffered shipwreck years ago, they have created a small but impressive parallel society called Hegelland. Originally Quakers, they are now followers of a religion worshipping screws (their own invention) and maintain three printing presses of continuously increasing print quality (a cultural endeavour involving painstaking work). What will happen, now that a woman has arrived on the island, and what if more of them are to come?!
In 399 neo-Spenserian stanzas, Ann Cotten describes the turbulences that occur in the aftermath of a wave of female refugees arriving in Hegelland from the internet. The wearers of prosthetic limbs, encumbered with debts, become the unwitting catalyst of a counterrevolution that has been simmering for a long time. With the aid of rhymes, allusions, synaesthetic coercion, and immense vividness, this lucid nightmare will also be engraved into your consciousness.


»With sarcasm, satire and wickedness, Ann Cotten has reinvented the venerable genre of the epic poem.« Michael Braun, Badische Zeitung

»In her exciting text, Ann Cotten develops, next to a madly comical plot, a poetics of knowledge, but also a poetics of cloud observation, of brewing beer, a dramatic theory, and offers a short survey of tigers in poetry.« Jan Kuhlbrodt, Signaturen April 2016

From the jury’s statement on the Hugo-Ball-Prize 2017:
»Ann Cotten receives the Hugo-Ball-Prize 2017 for her unique and inventive work. In her novels, essays, poems, or epic poems, she utilizes the possibilities of literary forms to their fullest extent and considers language to be a matter of art first and foremost. In her texts, politics, philosophy, and aesthetic calculations merge to oscillating creations that are dedicated to revolution as much as they are to beauty. Her works stand out among contemporary literature due to the fearlessness of her thinking. She questions that which seems to be self-evident, and unites the incongruous, yet the shocks that may be caused by this are counterbalanced by her clear and elegant style.«