Lutz Seiler

Turksib - Two Stories

(German title: Turksib)
ca. 46 pages
Lutz Seiler
Foto: Lutz Seiler
© Heike Steinweg

Lutz Seiler was born in 1963 in Gera, Thuringia, and today lives in Wilhelmshorst near Berlin and Stockholm.

He underwent training as a mason and a carpenter and completed his studies in 1990. Since 1997, he has been the literary director and custodian of the Peter Huchel Museum. He has traveled to Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and was writer in residence at the Villa Aurora in Los Angeles and at the German Academy in Rome.

His many prizes include the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, the Bremen Prize for Literature, the Fontane Prize, and the Uwe-Johnson-Prize. For more information, please visit the author's website: https://lutzseiler.de

Prizes and Awards:
1999 Kranichstein Literature Prize
2000 Meran Poetry Prize
2000 Dresden Poetry Prize
2002 Anna Seghers Prize
2003 Ernst Meister Prize
2003 Villa Aurora grant, Los Angeles
2004 Bremen Literature Prize
2005 SWR Best List Prize
2007 Ingeborg Bachmann Prize
2009 Harald Gerlach grant, state of Thuringia
2010 Nomination for the Leipzig Book Fair Prize (for Die Zeitwaage)
2010 German Narrator Prize (for Die Zeitwaage)
2010 City of Neuruppin Fontane Prize (for Die Zeitwaage)
2011 Villa Massimo German Academy grant, Rome
2012 Christian Wagner Prize
2012 Rainer Malkowski Prize (shared)
2014 Mainz Poetic Lectureship
2014 Uwe Johnson Prize (for Kruso)
2014 German Book Prize (for Kruso)
2015 Marie Luise Kaschnitz Prize
2015 Heidelberg Poetic Lectureship, Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg
2017 Thuringia Literature Prize
2020 Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair (for Stern 111)
2020 Kakehashi Prize for Literature, Tokyo (for Kruso)

Rights available

Ingeborg-Bachmann-Prize 2007


Lutz Seiler first came to be known thanks to his two poetry collections, pech & blende (2000) and vierzig kilometer nacht (2003). For the Ingeborg-Bachmann-Prize in 2007 he offered up his first short story, Turksib, and was subsequently declared the winner.

Ilma Rakusa describes the text’s allure: »With poetic-grotesque precision, Lutz Seiler’s Turksib portrays a winter train journey through radioactively contaminated Kazach landscapes. A small Geiger counter alerts the German narrator to the level of potential danger while his encounter with a Heine-quoting stoker brings Russian-German relations to a boil. In just the smallest of spaces, Seiler manages to capture the precarious present and past and transform a train ride into a complex allegory of a complex reality. This is travel literature of the highest order, full of allusions and connections which, sentence by sentence, reveal what language can do when its poetic power is released.«

The other story contained in this volume, Die Anrufung (The Summoning), is concerned with the source of this language. A professor’s exam question on »beauty« brings the narrator back to an acoustic experience from early childhood: the discovery of his own voice.


»After only a few sentences, a particular tone is struck, and powerful images emerge that we often find only within poetry. Here one encounters the common paradox of good literature: by means of the simplest language, the clearest and most striking images are created […] The way Seiler paints these memories through language turns this slender collection into a small wonder.« Der Tagesspiegel

»Lutz Seiler amazes the reader with intense images of lyrical precision. […] These two stories offer us highly poetic and intense snapshots of particular moments and are at the same time the poetic-theoretical miniatures of a poet who came to be among the storytellers.« Angelika Overath, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Other publications

Stern 111/Star 111 (2020)

Sold to:

English world rights (And Other Stories), Arabic world rights (Kalima), France (Verdier), Netherlands (Meridiaan), Denmark (Batzer), Sweden (Norstedts), Bulgaria (Black Flamingo), Greece (Patakis)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (DAV), German Entire Radio Readings (rbb & NDR), German Book Club (Büchergilde Gutenberg)

Kruso/Kruso (2014)

Sold to:

English world rights (Scribe), Spanish world rights (Anagrama), Catalan rights (Club Editor), Chinese simplex rights (Horizon), Russia (Text), France (Verdier), Italy (Del Vecchio), Netherlands (Meridiaan / Dutch Media Group), Denmark (Batzer & Co.), Sweden (Norstedts), Norway (Gyldendal Norsk), Japan (Hakusuisha), Poland (Jagielonian UP), Hungary (Europa), Bulgaria (Atlantis), Romania (RAO), Lithuania (Kitos Knygos), Serbia (Laguna), Slovenia (Sodobnost), Turkey (Bence), Greece (Patakis), Macedonia (Goten), Armenia (Antares)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Hörbuch Hamburg), German Entire Radio Reading (NDR), German Book Club (Büchergilde Gutenberg + Club Bertelsmann)

im felderlatein/in field latin (2010)

Sold to:

English world rights (Seagull), Italy (selection, Del Vecchio), Sweden (selection, Faethon)

Die Zeitwaage/The Time-Balance (2009)

Sold to:

Catalan Rights (selection, Club Editor), Arabic world rights (Al'Asreya), France (Verdier), Italy (Del Vecchio Editore)

Sonntags dachte ich an Gott/Sundays I Thought About God (2004)

Sold to:

English world rights (And Other Stories), Italy (selection, Del Vecchio)

vierzig kilometer nacht/forty kilometres of night (2003)

Sold to:

English world rights (And Other Stories)

pech & blende/pech & blende (2000)

Sold to:

English world rights (And Other Stories)