HANDOUT - 13.04.2021, Berlin: Der Autor Thomas Brussig. Er hat sich im Streit vom S. Fischer-Verlag getrennt. «Ich möchte meine Bücher nicht mehr in Ihren Händen wissen», schrieb er an Verlegerin S. Bublitz. Foto: Kathrin Brussig/dpa - ACHTUNG: Nur zur redaktionellen Verwendung und nur mit vollständiger Nennung des vorstehenden Credits +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

The writer Thomas Brussig (“Heroes like us”) has separated from the S. Fischer publishing house in a dispute. “I no longer want my books in your hands,” he wrote to publisher Siv Bublitz. “Please give me back the rights to my titles; I’ll start looking for a publisher that lives up to its responsibilities.” Brussig accuses the publisher of collapsing in the dispute over the novel “That’s not in any Russian film” (2015). Bublitz regretted Brussig’s decision “extremely”.

In the novel, which was published in 2015, the author, who was born in East Berlin in 1964, tells the story of how it might have been if the GDR had existed to this day. There is also a scene about his military service that is true, according to Brussig. According to Brussig, his former company commander contacted the publisher “because he didn’t agree with the role he played in my novel”. The man had demanded damages and the ban of the book.

Instead of rejecting the demands, Bublitz sought an agreement and the publisher wanted to undertake not to reprint the novel. “If you even help a GDR officer cross the street with his legally unfounded demands, then I am not safe with any of my books with you,” says Brussig. Bublitz sacrifices his book if a lawsuit threatens, “even though you know that a court will protect my book”.

According to the publisher’s legal advisor Katharina Winter, Fischer “never (…) considered not reprinting the novel, taking it off the market or changing entire passages”. In order to avoid a legal dispute and a ban, the publisher only offered the person concerned not to give his name in subsequent editions.