Nominated by:

Stadt-und Universitatsbibliothek Bern, Switzerland

Publisher of nominated edition:

Henry Holt

Granta

1998 – The Land of Green Plums

Herta Müller      

Translated from the original German by Michael Hofmann

Winner of the 1998 Award

I wrote this book in memory of my Romanian friends who were killed under the Ceausescu regime. I felt it was my duty. I am overwhelmed because I never expected to win.”
Herta Müller.

1998 Shortlist     1998 Longlist

The Judges’ Citation

The novel brilliantly evokes a world of cruelty and oppression. Set in Communist Romania under the Ceaucescu dictatorship, The Land of Green Plums portrays the lives of a group of dissident students and teachers whose integrity is continuously assailed and sometimes betrayed. Herta Müller’s stark and vivid prose explores a terror-stricken society of mendacity and political slander. The “green plums” of the title stand in part for truth and its brutal suppression in a world of interrogators and informers, where speaking out can become a matter of life and death.

The author’s style, achieves a spartan eloquence, and the novel’s individual charaters are powerfully drawn.

This elegantly understated book is at once bleak and beautiful, humorous and heartbreaking. The judges congratulate Herta Müller for her compelling literary achievement in The Land of Green Plums.

Judges: Greg Gatenby, Margo Glantz, Paul Muldoon, Marta Tikkanen, Al Young. Non-voting Chair, Allen Weinstein

About the Book

“I wrote this book in memory of my Romanian friends who were killed under the Ceausescu regime. I felt it was my duty. I am overwhelmed because I never expected to win.”
Herta Müller.

About the Author

Ms. Müller is a Romanian-born writer – a member of that country’s Geman – speaking minority – now living in Berlin.