Sharon Dodua Otoo’s debut novel Adas Raum is on the shortlist of Das Debut 2021 announced on Monday, December 6, 2021.
The Debut is a joint project of literary bloggers who regularly report and provide information on the variety of literary debuts. The prize was first handed out in 2016 and has since been won by among others Deniz Ohde, Nadine Schneider, and Bettina Wilpert.
For 2021, 93 titles were submitted to the judging team who whittled it do to a shortlist of five debut novels. On that list perhaps marking the first entry by a writer of African descent is Sharon Dodua Otoo’s debut novel Adas Raum. Here is a blurb about the book that was published by Fischer in February this year;
The long-awaited first novel from Ingeborg Bachmann Prize-winning author Sharon Dodua Otoo.
Sharon Dodua Otoo’s courage and passion for narration and her curiosity for understanding the present day are breathtaking. Everything in her world hangs by a silken thread: threatening to fall at any moment, floating in wondrous suspense.
So, too, with Ada, the protagonist of Otoo’s first novel. Ada is not one, but many women: She revolves in orbits between Ghana and London before eventually landing in Berlin. But she is also all women — because these loops transport her from one century to the next. And so, she experiences the misery but also the joy of womanhood: she is a victim, she offers resistance, and she fights for her independence. With vivid language and infinite imagination — with empathy and humor — Sharon Dodua Otoo’s novel Ada’s Realm paints an astonishing picture of what it means to be a woman.
Sharon Dodua Otoo responded with the Tweet, “#AdasRaum made it onto the shortlist for the best German debut novel in 2021! Thank you @DasDebuet and congratulations to all other nominees.”