Excerpt from the Justification for the 2015 Award:
"The spiral of history ruins the centers by grinding through the edges (Heiner Müller). The writing of Olga Martynova (born in 1962 near Krasnoyarsk, childhood in Leningrad, since 1991 living in Germany) emerges from this maelstrom of history that constitutes the postsocialist era. With her exuberant imagination and instinctive lightness, she succeeds in her novels Even Parrots Outlive Us (2010) and Mörikes Collarbone (2013), to transpose common themes such as origin or love to a transhistorical universe between St. Petersburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Chicago, and Siberia in which the protagonists submit themselves and find each other. We encounter snow people and shamans, underground poets, kagus, and Philemon and Baucis. All of them poetically resist the function schemes and circumstances of the Cold War, in order to land almost happenstance, for example, in a spy science fiction story. Particularly in her volumes of poetry Letter to the Cypress Trees (2001), In the Draft of Europe (2009), and From Tschwirik to Tschwirka (2012), Martynova reveals her cranky anarchic sense of humor and her refreshingly respectful-disrespectful way of dealing with literary traditions through her agile handling of world history as a changing form of social or mythological shaping and altered justification of layered legacies – e.g., to be fair to the avant-garde artists Daniil Charms or Alexander Wwedensk, who perished under Stalin. Martynova's handling of language is highly sensitive and accurate, due to the fact that she confesses to her searching movements in a language which is not her native tongue – German – and lets them become an instrument for exploring language. From this poetic worldview and appropriation, the past flashes as time that does not pass, whose mysterious magical picture puzzles draw the reader into their spell."
The Berlin Literature Prize will be awarded on February 18, 2015, in the Rotes Rathaus (Red City Hall) in Berlin. The president of Freie Universität will officially appoint Martynova as the Heiner Müller Visiting Professor of German Literature. The laudatory speech will be given by Elke Erb.