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Cihan Acar receives Squidward Troll Award for his debut novel “Hawaii” – SWR2

Hawaii is long not only in the Pacific Ocean, but also in Heilbronn. The city’s troubled neighborhood has had a career since Cihan Acar’s debut novel. On 29 November in Stuttgart, Acar will be awarded the Thaddäus Troll Prize for his novel, which is awarded by the Association of German Writers in Baden-Württemberg.

Cihan Acar wants to make another Heilbronn visible

It tells the story of the German-Turk Kemal, who actually wants to make a career as a professional soccer player in Turkey. But the plan goes wrong. Back in Heilbronn, we accompany this Kemal for four intensive days in search of a new beginning.

Football-mad writer Cihan Acar, who was born near Heilbronn, has never lived in the troubled district of Hawaii himself, but knows the scene, which used to be notorious for drugs and gang warfare, from many stories and anecdotes.

Betting shops, clubs, amusement arcades, Turkish bars and shopping centers become the setting for his novel, with which he deliberately wants to make a different kind of Heilbronn visible: “Until now, Heilbronn had a rather conservative reputation and is also considered – I regret to say – to be ugly City. You hear it often enough from the residents themselves if you grow up there,” says Acar.

He was based on stories like the series “Breaking Bad”, which takes place in the largely unknown city of Albuquerque. “Once you’ve watched this entire series, you want to go to Albuquerque the day after and see all the places and locations. And so I tried to make Heilbronn look interesting with an interesting story.”

The city as a complex playground

The city thus becomes a playground for many different milieus, which Cihan Acar brings to life with a keen sense of dialects, slang and humour. Crime, racism and nationalism among the German population as well as in the German-Turkish community – these are topics that extend far beyond Heilbronn in this novel.

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“My personal experience is that on both sides – whether it is the German majority society or the migrant groups – it is accepted that you choose a group. So at best you should only have one identity. I never really saw it because I think identity is such a complex concept, especially in the modern world, made up of many different influences, from many different backgrounds.”

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