Ralf Rothmann

Fire Doesn't Burn - Novel

(German title: Feuer brennt nicht)
ca. 303 pages
Ralf Rothmann
Foto: Ralf Rothmann
© Heike Steinweg

Ralf Rothmann was born in 1953 in Schleswig and grew up in the Ruhr. He lives in Berlin.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including:

Uwe-Johnson-Prize 2018
Premio San Clemente 2017
Kleist Preis 2017
Friedrich-Hölderlin-Prize 2013
Hans-Fallada-Preis 2008
Literaturpreis der Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung 2008
Max-Frisch-Preis 2006
Heinrich-Böll-Preis 2005
Wilhelm Raabe Literaturpreis 2004

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English world rights (Seagull), Arabic world rights (Kalima), Lithuania (Lithuania Writers Union Publishers)


Ralf Rothmann has written a novel about the delicate convergence of East and West, as well as a chronicle of erotic desire - a torrid love story.

Berlin, nearly 20 years after the fall of the wall. Kreuzberg has become unappealing, the trendiness unbearable, and so Alina and Wolf move to the bucolic border of the city. In Müggelsee, where the differences between East and West have not yet faded, and the scene of astonishing enounters with men from the vanishing republic, Wolf finds himself increasingly overstrained from daily routine with Alina, the „triviality of togetherness,“ the feeling of confinement despite living in a comfortable apartment.

When his former lover Charlotte resurfaces, Wolf seizes the opportunity to escape to new stimuli, ignited by the assertive professor’s powers of seduction. His trysts are disguised as excursions with his dog Webster, in whose fur, however, the smell of unfamiliar perfume lingers unexpectedly long. Alina becomes suspicious, so Wolf overcomes the „hell of concealment“ and is surprised at the response: His wife not only accepts the affair, but encourages it.


»Ralf Rothmann’s new novel, Fire Doesn’t Burn, stands apart from earlier works of the 1953-born author, who has long been established as one of the greatest and most important storytellers of our time. Specifically, Rothmann re-orients himself with a captivatingly clear view of his own generation [...] and Fire Doesn’t Burn is truly something different - a more radical, vulnerable existential force [...]. Ralf Rothmann has written a magnificent reflection of an older generation and masculinity, love and desire, freedom and addiction.« Felicitas von Lovenberg, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Other publications

Der Gott jenes Sommers/The God of That Summer (2018)

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English world rights (Picador), Italy (Neri Pozza), Czech Republic (Argo), Croatia (Fraktura), Turkey (Yapi Kredi), Greece (Kastaniotis)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Hörbuch Hamburg), German Book Club rights (Büchergilde Gutenberg)

Im Frühling sterben/To Die in Spring (2015)

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English world rights (Picador UK; USA/Canada sublicense: FSG; English audiobook sublicense: Tantor), Spanish world rights (Libros del Asteroide), Catalan rights (L'Altra Editorial), Portuguese rights (Sextante Editora), France (Denoël), Italy (Neri Pozza), Netherlands (Arbeiderspers), Denmark (Rosinante), Sweden (Thorén & Lindskog), Norway (Gyldendal Norsk), Finland (Atena), Poland (W.A.B.), Czech Republic (Argo), Slovak Republic (Premedia), Hungary (Magvetö), Bulgaria (Atlantis), Romania (ART), Estonia (Hea Lugu), Croatia (Fraktura), Serbia (Laguna), Slovenia (Goga), Turkey (Yapi Kredi), Greece (Kastaniotis), Kosovo / Albanian world rights (Buzuku)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Hörbuch Hamburg), German Entire Radio Reading (NDR)

Junges Licht/Young Light (2004)

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English world rights (Seagull), Spanish world rights (Libros Del Asteroide), Russia (Fluid), Finland (Avain), Turkey (Metis), Azerbaijan (Alatoran); previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Poland (Atut)

Hitze/Heat (2003)

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Croatia (Fraktura), Macedonia (Antolog); previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Russia (Ast)

Milch und Kohle/Milk and Coal (2000)

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Sweden (Thoren & Lindskog), Serbia (Clio), Turkey (Yapi Kredi); previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: France (Laurence Teper)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Book Club rights (Büchergilde Gutenberg), German Hardcover Sublicense (Klartext)