Back to Home

Roman Ehrlich

Portrait of the author Roman Ehrlich
Photo credit Michael Disqué

»Everyone dreams for themselves the dream of an unknown, unspent place«

Roman Ehrlich studied at the German Institute for Literature in Leipzig and at the Free University of Berlin. He has been awarded numerous prizes for his work, most recently the Ernst Toller Prize (2016) and the Alfred Döblin Medal (2017). Ehrlich’s texts often present the reader with everyday scenes with a surreal twist. In his most recent novel "Malé" (2020), which was selected for the German Book Prize longlist, he considers the narrative world of a dystopian near future. Based on Malé, the capital of the Maldives, Roman Ehrlich takes a literary look at what awaits us. A key question of the novel is: how can a utopia succeed if it does not take all interests into account?

Roman Ehrlich writes about life in a near future where the consequences of climate change can no longer be ignored. Malé is threatened by rising sea-levels, and despite the city literally sinking into the ocean, it becomes a refuge for wealth-saturated exiles of the Western world who hope to find a new utopia in a rural setting. The environmental changes form the backdrop for the island community’s processes of negotiation, as they grapple with new freedoms and lost freedoms, with life and survival in the face of an overwhelming crisis.