German Book Prize 2018 Longlist Announced: Familiar Names, Literary Diversity

In News by Porter Anderson

With a winner’s purse of €25,000 riding on the jury’s final decisions, the German Book Prize longlist of 20 is to be pared down to six shortlisted titles by September 11.

Image – iStockphoto: Ross Helen

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
With reporting by Hannah Johnson |

‘Conceptions of the World’

The Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels—Germany’s association of publishers and booksellers—has announced a longlist for this year’s German Book Prize, featuring 20 novels drawn from 199 submitted titles. This is considered one of Germany’s most prestigious prizes for literature.

As reported in Der Speigel, this year’s longlist includes a previous winner of the prize (Arno Geiger in 2005 for Es geht uns gut), as well as several authors who were previously shortlisted for the prize—Angelika Klüssendorf, Gert Loschütz, Inger-Maria Mahlke, and Stephan Thome.

In both Die Zeit and Der Speigel, reports about the longlist call attention to Maxim Biller and Helene Hegemann, both successful writers who are on the German Book Prize longlist for the first time. Biller is well-known in Germany and other countries, and his work has been translated into 16 languages so far, according to his publisher, Kiepenheuer & Witsch. Hegemann’s debut novel, Axotl Roadkill, was published in 2010 by Hanser and has been translated in 20 languages.

In a prepared statement, jury lead Christine Lötscher, an independent critic, is quoted, saying, “The issue of the state of world affairs seems to be burning on the minds of many German-language authors: How did the world become what it is today? How is everything connected, and what stories can we tell about that?

“Their novels attempt to plumb the poetic depths of these questions by allowing the characters to explore their past and present as travelers, seekers or exiles.

“The jury was delighted by the wide variety of literary forms submitted—which included both major historical and playfully fantastical conceptions of the world—as well as texts that seek to radically reduce the viewpoint down to the root of storytelling. By virtue of its richness and the many surprising discoveries it contains, the longlist is also an invitation by the jury to explore this broad literary spectrum.”

The six shortlisted authors, announced September 11, won’t know which of them has won the prize until the 8 October announcement. The winner receives €25,000 (US$28,325), and the five shortlisted finalists are given €2,500 each (US$2,834).

Deutscher Buchpreis Longlist 2018
  • Carmen-Francesca Banciu, Lebt wohl, Ihr Genossen und Geliebten! (PalmArtPress, March 2018)
  • María Cecilia Barbetta, Nachtleuchten (S. Fischer, August 2018)
  • Maxim Biller, Sechs Koffer (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, September 2018)
  • Susanne Fritz, Wie kommt der Krieg ins Kind (Wallstein, March 2018)
  • Arno Geiger, Unter der Drachenwand (Carl Hanser, January 2018)
  • Nino Haratischwili, Die Katze und der General (Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt, August 2018)
  • Franziska Hauser, Die Gewitterschwimmerin (Eichborn, February 2018)
  • Helene Hegemann, Bungalow (Hanser Berlin, August 2018)
  • Anja Kampmann, Wie hoch die Wasser steigen (Carl Hanser, January 2018)
  • Angelika Klüssendorf, Jahre später (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, January 2018)
  • Gert Loschütz, Ein schönes Paar (Schöffling & Co., February 2018)
  • Inger-Maria Mahlke, Archipel (Rowohlt, August 2018)
  • Gianna Molinari, Hier ist noch alles möglich (Aufbau, July 2018)
  • Adolf Muschg, Heimkehr nach Fukushima (C.H.Beck, July 2018)
  • Eckhart Nickel, Hysteria (Piper, September 2018)
  • Josef Oberhollenzer, Sültzrather (Folio, March 2018)
  • Susanne Röckel, Der Vogelgott (Jung und Jung, February 2018)
  • Matthias Senkel, Dunkle Zahlen (Matthes & Seitz Berlin, February 2018)
  • Stephan Thome, Gott der Barbaren (Suhrkamp, September 2018)
  • Christina Viragh, Eine dieser Nächte (Dörlemann, February 2018)

As Publishing Perspectives has reported, jurors joining Lötscher are:

  • Christoph Bartmann is director of the Goethe-Institut Warsaw, a literary critic and author, and was a member of the jury for the German Book Prize 2008.
  • Luzia Braun, ZDF, is acting director of aspekte and editorial manager of Das literarische Quartett.
  • Tanja Graf, director of the Literaturhaus München, was previously publisher of Schirmer Graf Verlag and Graf Verlag, an imprint of Ullstein.
  • Paul Jandl, an independent critic for Die Welt and Neue Zürcher Zeitung, was also a member of the jury for the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize from 2009 to 2013.
  • Uwe Kalkowski, author of the literary blogs Kaffeehaussitzer and Book Prize Blogger in 2015, was the winner of the Book Blog Award last year.
  • Marianne Sax, owner of the Bücherladen Marianne Sax bookshop (Frauenfeld), is president of the Schweizer Buchhändler und Verleger Verband,  the Swiss Booksellers and Publishers Association, until 2016. She’s program director for the Thurgauer Literaturhaus.

The prize is conferred by the Börsenverein’s foundation and has funding from the Deutsche Bank Foundation as well as Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 10 to 14) and the city of Frankfurt.

Television network Deutsche Welle supports the prize program in German and international programming.

The hashtag for this year’s prize cycle is #dbp18

The Deutscher Buchpreis 2018 jurors are, clockwise from top left, Christoph Bartmann, Luzia Braun, Tanja Graf, Paul Jandl, Uwe Kalkowski, Christine Lotscher, and Marianne Sax.

More from Publishing Perspectives on the German Book Prize is here, and on book awards on the wider scale here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.