Kirsten Boie wins German Children’s Book Prize for DUNKELNACHT (DARK NIGHT)

Kirsten Boie wins German Children’s Book Prize for DUNKELNACHT (DARK NIGHT)

25th October, 2022

Kirsten Boie has won the German Children’s Book Prize (Deutscher Jugendbuchpreis) for her YA novel DUNKELNACHT (DARK NIGHT).

The jury issued the following statement:

“Using her own research, Kirsten Boie has turned a historical tragedy into a claustrophobic text with striking imagery. Her economical language shows with painful precision how ideological brainwashing may lead to inhumane actions and how even neighbours can turn into murderers. The gravity of history is reflected here on a small scale. The breathless narrative is made even more affecting by the inclusion of the three teenaged protagonists who are all on different sides of the conflict. Kirsten Boie has created a terrific, haunting piece of historical fiction. She is a well-known and successful author who has proven herself capable of complete self-innovation.”

DUNKELNACHT is the story based on the events that occurred in Penzberg, a small town south of Munich on the 27th and 28th April 1945.

On April 28, 1945, the citizens of Penzberg wanted to surrender the city to the advancing Americans without a fight. The former SPD mayor Hans Rummer, prevented the local coal mine from being blown up and informed the prisoners of war and forced labourers there that the war was over. At this point, under orders from the local Gauleiter, a hundred Nazi fanatics from the so-called “Werewolf movement” stormed the town hall, and executed Rummer and seven other men without trial. In the following hours another eight suspected resistance fighters were hanged – two were women, one of them pregnant. The following day, the Americans arrived in Penzberg. We follow the protagonists through the events of the two days. In particular, through the eyes of two teenagers, Annie and Georg, who are slowly falling in love and who come from very different political backgrounds.

DUNKELNACHT is an important and brilliant novel by one of Germany’s most important Children’s Writers.