"Liberation from the straightjacket of literature constraints"

Andreas Ammer and FM Einheit receive the Günter Eich Prize 2019 for their contributions to the German-language radio play

Leipzig, 5 March, 2019. The German radio playwright duo Andreas Ammer and FM Einheit (real name: Franz-Martin Strauß) receive the Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation's Günter Eich Prize 2019. The jury that made the decision is chaired by Wolfgang Schiffer, former radio play director of WDR. The prize is intended to honour authors who have rendered outstanding contributions to the German-language radio play and is endowed with 10,000 euros. "The fact that the prize jury's decision was unanimous, based on a total of eleven nominations, shows the outstanding quality of Andreas Ammer and FM Einheit, who succeeded in expanding the concept of the radio play genre and opening up theatres and concert arenas to the genre with live performances," says Stephan Seeger, Managing Director of the Media Foundation. The award ceremony will take place on 25 June 2019 at the media campus Villa Ida in Leipzig.

Andreas Ammer and FM Einheit have been producing radio plays for public broadcasters in Germany for several decades as well as commissioned works for renowned German theatres such as the Bayerisches Staatsschauspiel or the Bonn Opera. They are the only authors to win the Hörspielpreis der Kriegsblinden (War Blinded Audio Play Prize) twice: Together with Ulrike Haage they were awarded the renowned prize for Apocalypse Live in 1995 and for Crashing Aeroplanes (Fasten your seat belts) in 2001. Many more of their productions have been awarded with prizes. The jury of the Günter Eich Prize now honours the joint oeuvre of Andreas Ammer and FM Einheit.

The jury explained that the duo had "finally released the radio play genre from the straightjacket of literature constraints". "Acoustic works of art" were created, "not only taking the radio play genre out of its artistic enclosure, but also from the enclosures of its reception, from the living rooms. (...) Andreas Ammer and FM Einheit have liberated the radio play genre." The jury's reasoning goes on to say: "Ammer/FM Einheit open their ears for different ways of speaking, for linguistic contexts, they reinterpret the ghostly spaces of the German past and dive into German myths, from the Nibelungen saga to Ulrike Meinhof. (...) Great radio play operas emerge from the balance of text and music, from musically shaped speech material and speaking sounds."

About the laureates:

Andreas Ammer, born 1960 in Munich, is an author & journalist. After studying German language and literature, philosophy and history of the natural sciences, he received his doctorate in 1990. Since 1989 he has been working alternately as a freelance author, university lecturer, television journalist and director (including ARD culture magazines and Spiegel-TV). Since 2003 he has been working as the producer of the ARD literary programme druckfrisch and has also produced numerous radio plays and theatre productions, mostly with FM Einheit.

FM Einheit was born in Dortmund in 1958 and works as a composer, musician and music producer. Since 1979 he has been active as a musician in various formations, including Abwärts and Palais Schaumburg. Since the early 1980s he has been a percussionist and member of Einstürzende Neubauten. He also composed incidental music for productions by Peter Zadek, Werner Schwab and Hasko Weber, among others. As a producer he worked for KMFDM and Goethes Erben, among others. In addition, he presented numerous radio plays, mostly together with Andreas Ammer.

Ammer and FM Einheit started their collaboration with the radio play Radio Inferno (1993) produced for the BR, which won the International Morishige Award Japan 1994, among other awards. Apocalypse Live, produced together with Ulrike Haage as a live radio play for the Bavarian Staatsschauspiel and the BR in 1994, received the Hörspielpreis der Kriegsblinden in 1995. Odysseus 7 - Radio Space Opera, another live radio play, was nominated as the German contribution for the Prix Futura. With Crashing Aeroplanes (Fasten your seat belts) the duo won their second Hörspielpreis der Kriegsblinden in 2002. Numerous other productions such as Deutsche Krieger (BR 1995-97) followed, most recently Symphonie der Sirenen for the BR / Philharmonie Brünn in cooperation with Deutschlandradio in 2018.

About the award:

The Günter Eich Prize, awarded for the sixth time by the Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation, is intended to honour authors who have dedicated an oeuvre of expertise in content and form to the genre of radio play. It is awarded annually in alternation with the Axel Eggebrecht Prize for the radio feature. Former award winners were Alfred Behrens (2007), Eberhard Petschinka (2009), Hubert Wiedfeld (2011), Jürgen Becker (2013), Ror Wolf (2015) and Friederike Mayröcker.

2019 - Günter Eich Prize
2019 - Günter Eich Prize