Amy Giles awarded “Buxtehude Bull”
Force of text and topic impress jury and readership
Buxtehude. The American author, Amy Giles, was awarded with the €5000 endowed youth literature award, the Buxtehude Bull, last Friday evening, 8th November, for her first work, “Now is Everything” (translated from English by Isabel Abedi; cbj-Verlag publishers). Giles was handed the approx. twelve-kilogram Bull (steel plastic figure) by Buxtehude’s mayor, Katja Oldenburg-Schmidt.
“Every youth literature award should work this way.”
“This was one of the most impressive moments of my life”, Giles said at the official award ceremony. In front of around 500 audience members, on the Buxtehude Halepaghen stage, she thanked the city, the jury and especially the youth readers: “The Buxtehude Bull is special: Every youth literature award should work this way, so that the target audience are co-decision makers”, the 53-year-old said, “To receive this award, is a tremendous honour”.
A special laudatory speech was held by Isabel Abedi. Although the Hamburg author could not personally be present, her words were read by the Buxtehude library’s head, Ulrike Mensching: “A considerable portion of me is here, now,” Abedi wrote. She is the award-winning debut novel’s translator: “The force of your words captured me. Hadley told me her story. Her soft, vivid voice, had me from the first to the last page and just didn’t let me go.
Award-winning text makes domestic violence a topic of discussion
Laudatory speaker, Renate Winkel, from the “Biss-counselling centre against domestic violence”, AWO Stade, especially referred to the terror behind the book’s story, within her speech: “Amy Giles has written an emotional book that makes the dynamic of the such violence-plagued families, palpable. World-wide, every third woman has experienced physical violence. Also, within the Stade district, domestic violence occurs: 414 known cases were registered in 2018. Amy Giles has hit a nerve. It is always worth looking behind the facade.”
The novel’s central character is Hadley. Perfect pupil, perfect sportswoman, perfect daughter. However, behind the seemingly faultless McCauley family, lies an ugly secret.
It is this secret – domestic violence - that the certified pedagogue, Thomas Rupf and Department of Youth Affairs Vice Head, Frauke Schulte, dedicated a short, however intensive, discussion to. Rupf emphasized: “We are all responsible, we cannot expect those effected children to be able to act.”
“Jury accurately filtered out the most special aspects”
Buxtehude’s mayor, Katja Oldenburg-Schmidt, paid tribute to the jury’s respect – the eleven youths as well as the eleven adult jury members – who voted a majority for “Now is Everything”. In the presence of 2013 winner, Christine Fehér, she said: “Our annually changing jury is always successful at accurately filtering out the most special aspects from the flood of newly released publications.”
Angela Glüsing, from Buxtehude, performed an impressive interpretation on the topic. In a approximately ten-minute choreography, she displayed her dance interpretation of “Now is Everything”. Violinist, André Böttcher, presented the musical frame for the evening. The award ceremony’s secret star was its presenter: Susann Atwell, from Hamburg, who has also accompanied an Oscar award ceremony on television, lead the evening.
Contact between author and readers at autograph signing
At the award ceremony’s conclusion, Giles sought contact to her readers. While signing her books, she got talking to her fans. Previously, on Thursday afternoon, the 53-year-old unveiled the 48th Buxtehude “BULL-evard” brass plate in Buxtehude’s old town centre together with Buxtehude’s mayor, Katja Oldenburg-Schmidt. The brass plate has the name of the winning author and book on it. Emotionally, she emphasised how much she is happy to be part of Buxtehude’s history. “I will keep telling my children and my grandchildren.” “And I have the feeling I will definitely be back again.”
The Buxtehude Bull is supported by the Else and Heinrich Klindtworth Foundation (Else und Heinrich Klindtworth-Stiftung). The Buxtehude Library is supported in the distribution of the Buxtehude Bull again this year by Buxtehude Library Support Society (Förderkreis der Stadtbibliothek Buxtehude e.V), KVG Transport Stade (KVG Stade GmbH & Co. KG -Buxtehude operation), HTM Hanse Traffic Media GmbH and Iwersen (Coffee) Roasting House (Rosterei Iwersen).
About the Award
The Buxtehude Bull is one of the most renowned and tradition-steeped German literature awards. In 1971, it was initiated by the Buxtehude book dealer, Winfried Ziemann. The award is endowed with €5000 and the Buxtehude Bull's aim is to inspire youths to read as well as to encourage the spread of good youth literature. Through the jury's traditional combination of equal numbers of eleven youths and eleven adults, this award comprises the interface between literary quality, literary preference with themes that collectively move youths and literary experts for almost 50 years. Through its aims and its processes, this award is unique within the German-speaking world.
Winners are immortalized within the Buxtehude town-scape by way of brass plates. To date, the BULL-evard – the winners' “Walk of Fame” - has over 40 plates laid throughout the town's walkways. Among them are the authors: Christine Fehér, Lauren Oliver, Jostein Gaarder, Stephenie Meyer and David Safier.