German Book Prize Announces a 20-Title Longlist

In News by Porter Anderson

Of an initial 156 books, the jury in the €25,000 German Book Prize has selected 20 longlist honorees with a shortlist coming on September 20.
The 2016 German Book Prize jury comprises, from left, Sabine Vogel, Cristoph Schröder, Lena Bopp, Susanne Jäggi, Thomas Andre, Berthold Franke, Najem Wali. Image: Claus Setzer

The 2016 German Book Prize jury comprises, from left, Sabine Vogel, Cristoph Schröder, Lena Bopp, Susanne Jäggi, Thomas Andre, Berthold Franke, Najem Wali. Image: Claus Setzer

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘Linguistic Diversity’
Calling 2016 “an excellent year” in books for his jury to review, the Frankfurt-based critic Christoph Schröder says, “This year’s longlist illustrates the wide range of writing styles and themes in contemporary German-language literature.

Christoph Schröder

Christoph Schröder

The German Book Prize is awarded annually just prior to the Frankfurt Book Fair (FBM) to the German-language novel deemed the best by a seven-person jury. It’s presented by the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels Stiftung—the Foundation of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association—in partnership with Deutsche Bank Foundation and with support from FBM and the City of Frankfurt am Main.

Ninety-eight German-language publishers submitted titles for this year’s award. Of those, 72 publishers are from Germany, 13 from Austria, and 13 from Switzerland.

Of the 156 original submissions, 89 were out in the spring and 53 are coming as autumn titles

In a prepared statement, Schröder says the material submitted this year runs “from the creation of daring literary dystopias to the representation of longing for new beginnings in other worlds; from the revolt against the inevitability of everyday life to biographical confirmations of individual self-images that reinvent experience in novelistic form.

“The linguistic diversity in the authors’ approaches to their material is vast. They don’t shy away from classical narrative any more than from an exuberant, humor-driven experimental delight in the use of language. In their respective forms the nominated novels also always reflect and grapple with social conditions.

“We had fun working our way through the submissions.”

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Nominated Novels
  • Akos Doma: Der Weg der Wünsche (Rowohlt Berlin, August 2016)
  • Gerhard Falkner: Apollokalypse (Berlin Verlag, September 2016)
  • Ernst-Wilhelm Händler: München (S. Fischer, August 2016)
  • Reinhard Kaiser-Mühlecker: Fremde Seele, dunkler Wald (S. Fischer, August 2016)
  • Bodo Kirchhoff: Widerfahrnis (Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt, September 2016)
  • André Kubiczek: Skizze eines Sommers (Rowohlt Berlin, May 2016)
  • Michael Kumpfmüller: Die Erziehung des Mannes (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, February 2016)
  • Katja Lange-Müller: Drehtür (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, August 2016)
  • Dagmar Leupold: Die Witwen (Jung und Jung, September 2016)
  • Sibylle Lewitscharoff: Das Pfingstwunder (Suhrkamp, September 2016)
  • Thomas Melle: Die Welt im Rücken (Rowohlt Berlin, August 2016)
  • Joachim Meyerhoff: Ach, diese Lücke, diese entsetzliche Lücke (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, November 2015)
  • Hans Platzgumer: Am Rand (Paul Zsolnay, February 2016)
  • Eva Schmidt: Ein langes Jahr (Jung und Jung, February 2016)
  • Arnold Stadler: Rauschzeit (S. Fischer, August 2016)
  • Peter Stamm: Weit über das Land (S. Fischer, February 2016)
  • Michelle Steinbeck: Mein Vater war ein Mann an Land und im Wasser ein Walfisch (Lenos, March 2016)
  • Thomas von Steinaecker: Die Verteidigung des Paradieses (S. Fischer, March 2016)
  • Anna Weidenholzer: Weshalb die Herren Seesterne tragen (Matthes & Seitz Berlin, August 2016)
  • Philipp Winkler: Hool (Aufbau, September 2016)

Joining Schröder on the jury this year are Thomas Andre (Hamburger Abendblatt); Lena Bopp (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung); Berthold Franke (Goethe-Institut Prague); Susanne Jäggi (Librium Bücher, Baden); Sabine Vogel (Berliner Zeitung); und Najem Wali (author and critic, Berlin).

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€25,000 to the Winner

German Book Prize logo linedThe next step will be for the jurors to select six titles from the longlist for inclusion on the shortlist, which will be published on September 20. The six shortlisted authors will find out which of them has won the German Book Prize only on the evening of the award ceremony itself. The winner will receive €25,000, the five finalists €2,500 each.

The prize ceremony on October 17 will be streamed at the prize site from Frankfurt’s Kaisersaal of the Frankfurt Römer. The radio stations Deutschlandfunk and Deutschlandradio Kultur will broadcast the ceremony as part of the “Dokumente und Debatten” programme on digital radio and as a live stream online at Deutschlandradio.

German online radio station Detektor FM has produced recordings of the reading samples from the longlist. Audio samples from the 20 longlisted titles are available here and on the Detektor app.

In addition, six literature bloggers have been selected to read the 20 books on the longlist, discuss them, and provide background information and contributions for critical debate. These blog posts can be read on the Facebook page of the German Book Prize and under the hashtag #dbp16.

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About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for trade and indie authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.