German Book Prize Releases Its 2019 Longlist: A ‘Stimulating Discussion’

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Citing ‘so many successful debuts to discover’ among its list of 20 titles, the jury of the German Book Prize has released its 2019 longlist.

At a warm-weather outdoor second-hand book market in Berlin. Image – iStockphoto: Frantic00

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

Jury: A ‘Diversity of Material and Stylistic Wealth’
In the 2019 awards cycle for the  German Book Prize, the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels—Germany’s publishers and booksellers association—has released this morning (August 20) a longlist of 20 novels. In the process, the jury’s lead has declared with enviable optimism, “We see no reason to worry about the future of reading and writing.”

The Börsenverein reports that since the call for submissions went out, the seven members of the jury have reviewed 203 titles published—or yet to be published—between October 2018 and September 17, when the shortlist is scheduled to be announced. The site for the program has earlier reported figures, indicating a pool of 173 novels, not 203, from 105 publishers.

The award, Germany’s most prestigious of its kind, is to be announced and conferred on October 14 at the Kaisersaal of the Frankfurt Römer, shortly before the Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 16 to 20). The writers of the six novels on the shortlist do not know the winner until the evening of October 14 at the award ceremony.

The winner receives €25,000 (US$27,696). The five finalists each receive €2,500 (US$2,770). As we reported, Inger-Maria Mahlke won the German Book Prize last year for her novel Archipelago.

As Publishing Perspectives readers will recall, the program has announced that a new award, the German Nonfiction Prize, is to be added to its annual honors. That award is to have its inception next year and its development parallels what seems to be a rising interest in nonfiction for publishers in many parts of the world, frequently powered by the era’s troubling political forces as readers search for social analysis.

German Book Prize 2019 Longlist
  • Nora Bossong, Schutzzone (Suhrkamp, September 2019)
  • Jan Peter Bremer, Der junge Doktorand (Berlin Verlag, September 2019)
  • Raphaela Edelbauer, Das flüssige Land (Klett-Cotta, August 2019)
  • Andrea Grill, Cherubino (Paul Zsolnay, July 2019)
  • Karen Köhler, Miroloi (Carl Hanser, August 2019)
  • Miku Sophie Kühmel, Kintsugi (S. Fischer, August 2019)
  • Angela Lehner, Vater unser (Hanser Berlin, February 2019)
  • Emanuel Maeß, Gelenke des Lichts (Wallstein, February 2019)
  • Alexander Osang, Die Leben der Elena Silber (S. Fischer, August 2019)
  • Katerina Poladjan, Hier sind Löwen (S. Fischer, June 2019)
  • Lola Randl, Der Große Garten (Matthes & Seitz Berlin, March 2019)
  • Tonio Schachinger, Nicht wie ihr (Kremayr & Scheriau, September 2019)
  • Norbert Scheuer, Winterbienen (C.H.Beck, July 2019)
  • Eva Schmidt, Die untalentierte Lügnerin (Jung und Jung, March 2019)
  • Saša Stanišić, Herkunft (Luchterhand, March 2019)
  • Marlene Streeruwitz, Flammenwand. (S. Fischer, May 2019)
  • Jackie Thomae, Brüder (Hanser Berlin, August 2019)
  • Ulrich Woelk, Der Sommer meiner Mutter (C.H.Beck, January 2019)
  • Norbert Zähringer, Wo wir waren (Rowohlt, March 2019)
  • Tom Zürcher, Mobbing Dick (Salis, March 2019)

In a prepared statement, the chair of the jury, critic Jörg Magenau, is quoted, saying, “For the jury, the selection process was an enriching and stimulating discussion about contemporary German-language literature.

“The longlist that emerged from this shared adventure in reading reflects the diversity of material and stylistic wealth of this year’s new literary releases. It includes social analyses and historical research, paranoia and fantasy, and wishes and global exploration, from California to the German provinces all the way to the Caucasus.

“We were particularly pleased that there were so many successful debuts to discover, which we are happy to pass on. We see no reason to worry about the future of reading and writing.”

Magenau’s fellow jurors are:

  • Petra Hartlieb (Hartliebs Bücher bookstore, Vienna)
  • Hauke Hückstädt (Literaturhaus, Frankfurt am Main)
  • Björn Lauer (Hugendubel, Frankfurt),
  • Alf Mentzer (Hessischer Rundfunk),
  • Daniela Strigl (literary scholar)
  • Margarete von Schwarzkopf (author and literary critic)

The German Book Prize receives funding from the Deutsche Bank Foundation, and additional partners include the Frankfurter Buchmesse and the city of Frankfurt am Main. The television network Deutsche Welle supports the German Book Prize in its media activities both at home and abroad.

The program has a site here with more information, and you can follow news of the program through the hashtag #dbp19.


More from Publishing Perspectives on the German Book Prize is here, and on publishing and book awards in general is here.

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.

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