Sharon Duduwa Otto: “Mr. Gruetrup Sitting” and the Literary Egg

Sharon Dudo Otto's book collects
Sharon Duduwa Otto’s book “Herr Göttrup” combines three texts from and about the 2016 Bachmann Prize.

Sharon Duduwa Otto won the Bachmann Prize in 2016. Six years later, her winning text Her Gotrop Sitting appears in print as a small booklet, with two other texts referring to Klagenfurt’s “Days of Literature in German”—and to the author. You read great things.

It seems that of all the winning Bachmann texts in recent years, Sharon Duduo Otto is especially well remembered, if any. The text was with the egg, the breakfast egg. The famous Loriot egg text (“Berta, the egg is hard.”) is mentioned repeatedly and the man’s name in Otto’s story sounds like a name in Loriot: Mr. Gotrop.

But that was with Loriot covers. In Otoo’s text, you don’t want the egg to harden, even after it’s been cooked for a long time.

35 entries can be found throughout Germany with the name Göttrup. On Wikipedia you will find Helmut Göttrup (1916-1981). Indeed: it is the character from the text entitled “Mr. Grottrop Sitting”. There we read: “Helmut Grottrop, seventy-eight years old, ninety-one kilograms, one meter eighty-three meters, was a German engineer (rocket specialist, retired nine years ago), inventor and genius at chess.” In Benemunde he worked on the development of the Hitler V2 missile. After the war he had to work in the Russian missile program, and in 1953 he returned to the then Federal Republic of Germany.

Sharon Duduo Otto
Sharon Duduwa Otto at the 2016 Bachmann Prize (Photo: Techer)

In all respects, one can discover a lot in the text that won the 2016 Bachmann Prize. Not only in terms of content. The three-part form, each with a reading guide, is interesting. and narrative perspective.

On re-reading it, one is amazed at how compact and perfect the story has been revised for a small volume, published by S. Fischer Verlag. But when you compare it with the previous version (it can be downloaded from the Bachmann Prize website according to the competition laws), you realize that absolutely nothing has been reviewed, but this is exactly the winning text. It is clear how worthy the award is. Otoo wrote the script specifically for the contest after juror Sandra Kegel invited the author to do so. Once again, one is amazed at how accurate, confident, and robust non-native speakers of German are in using German. Sharon Duduwa Otto (born in 1972) was born and raised in London. I studied there German He has lived in Berlin since 2006.

The little book summarizes three texts by Sharon Duduwa Otto. They are all associated with the “Days of German Literature” in Klagenfurt, which is known as the “Bachmann Prize”.

The second text is the inaugural address of 2020, the so-called “Klagenfurt Discourse in Literature”. It is entitled “May you dye the flowers black?”. Unfortunately, because the 2020 competition was held only by default, Otoo was unable to deliver the speech on site and in front of the audience. It was previously registered. The Klagenfurt Discourses on Literature were printed in the Miriug edition of the small publisher of the Heine Library in Klagenfurt. Fortunately, with kind permission, it was included in Fisher’s volume with the author’s drawings.

Audience Award winner Stephanie Sarnagel (left) and Bachmann Prize winner Sharon Duduwa Otto
Bachmann Prize 2016: Audience Award winner Stephanie Sargnajil (left) and Bachmann Prize winner, Sharon Duduwa Otto (Photo: Techar)

The rhetoric is also much stronger. It is about blacks and the communities in Germany in general. In 2022, as the topic is discussed in a cruel and often degrading way and still peppered with racism, at a time when such topics are repeatedly negatively dismissed as “wake up” and mixed with other hypothetical scenarios such as sex, Sharon Duduo-Otto’s speech remained a voice Quiet and calm text, almost shy, reserved and therefore no less self-confident, shows the situation and its problems. Otoo seems to approach the topic with caution. Even if you don’t agree with everything, the letter is worth reading and sharing.

The third text of the book is entitled The Hard Days and completes the general composition of the small book. The narrator is the author of 2022, who watches herself on the Bachmann Prize Sunday 2016 on her way to the ORF studio, where the prize will be voted on immediately. She also keeps an eye on her parents in the studio after the awards ceremony. However, they weren’t really there. Fiction makes it possible to look at the same narrator. From her parents’ point of view, she questions her commitment. The narration also worked subtly.

Sometimes you read excerpts from novels in Klagenfurt that have already ended and appear immediately afterwards. This percentage has been decreasing in recent years. Sometimes more Bachmann’s text appears later, as with Bov Bjerg.

Sharon Duduwa Otto’s script remained the script of the year 2016. However, more of it came. In the third part of the title story, Mr. Gotrop becomes aware of domestic workers. Her name is Ada. Time traveler Ada has her own book. The narrative perspective has also remained the norm: the author likes to tell stories from the point of view of inanimate objects. Even in Bachmann’s text, the egg tells a story that was a red carpet.

Wolfgang Techer

Sharon Duduwa Otto: Mr. Groottrap Seated: Three Texts. Hardcover edition. 2022. S. Fisher. ISBN / EAN: 9783103971859. €18.00 » Order from Ads or in the Library
Sharon Duduwa Otto: Mr. Groottrap Seated: Three Texts. Exclusive edition. 2022. FISCHER E-Books. €12.99 » Download from Ads

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