German Book Prize Names Its 2021 Longlist: ‘A Broad Bouquet’

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The longlist for the German Book Prize includes five authors’ debuts, and a focus on both ‘origin and history’ and contemporary concerns.

Outside the bookstore Hugendubel in Frankfurt, October 5, 2018. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Orinoco Art

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

Shortlist To Be Named September 21
Close on the heels of its announcement of its “Nationwide Blind Date Readings,” the German Book Prize today (August 24) has announced its 2021 longlist of 20 titles.

From that list, the jury will select six titles for the shortlist, to be released on September 21.

Those six authors will not find out which of them has won the German Book Prize until the evening of the award ceremony itself. This year’s ceremony in the Kaisersaal of the Frankfurt Römer is scheduled for October 18—by tradition shortly before the opening of Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 20 to 24).

The winner of the German Book Prize receives €25,000 (US$29,344), and each of the other five finalists receives €2,500 (US$2,933).

As Publishing Perspectives readers will remember, the prize went to author Anne Weber in 2020 for her biography of Anne Beaumanoir, Annette, ein Heldinnenepos  (Annette, an Epic of a Heroine) published by Matthes & Seitz.

Knut Cordsen

Knut Cordsen, the Bavarian radio (Bayerischer Rundfunk) culture editor who heads up the jury this year, is quoted on the announcement of the longlist, saying, “This year, the jury had more titles to choose from than ever before in the history of the German Book Prize.

“A quarter of the novels were fiction debuts, a broad bouquet of new literary voices.

“The jury is pleased that our selection for the longlist recognizes narrative experimentation alongside realistic novels, the comic, and the surreal. These 20 books take into account origins and history as well as questions that are of central importance in the present.”

German Book Prize 2021 Longlist

  • Henning Ahrens: Mitgift (Klett-Cotta, August 2021)
  • Shida Bazyar: Drei Kameradinnen (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, April 2021)
  • Dietmar Dath: Gentzen oder: Betrunken aufräumen (Matthes & Seitz Berlin, August 2021)
  • Franzobel: Die Eroberung Amerikas (Paul Zsolnay, January 2021)
  • Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt: Der versperrte Weg (Wallstein, June 2021)
  • Dana Grigorcea: Die nicht sterben (Penguin, March 2021)
  • Norbert Gstrein: Der zweite Jakob (Carl Hanser, February 2021)
  • Dilek Güngör: Vater und ich (Verbrecher, July 2021)
  • Monika Helfer: Vati (Carl Hanser, January 2021)
  • Felicitas Hoppe: Die Nibelungen (S. Fischer, September 2021)
  • Peter Karoshi: Zu den Elefanten (Leykam, May 2021)
  • Christian Kracht: Eurotrash (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, March 2021)
  • Thomas Kunst: Zandschower Klinken (Suhrkamp, February 2021)
  • Gert Loschütz: Besichtigung eines Unglücks (Schöffling & Co., July 2021)
  • Yulia Marfutova: Der Himmel vor hundert Jahren (Rowohlt, March 2021)
  • Sasha Marianna Salzmann: Im Menschen muss alles herrlich sein (Suhrkamp, September 2021)
  • Mithu Sanyal: Identitti (Carl Hanser, February 2021)
  • Ferdinand Schmalz: Mein Lieblingstier heißt Winter (S. Fischer, July 2021)
  • Antje Rávik Strubel: Blaue Frau (S. Fischer, August 2021)
  • Heinz Strunk: Es ist immer so schön mit dir (Rowohlt, July 2021)
The Jury and Coming Visibility for the Longlist

At a bookstore in Munich, October 20, 2017. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Rostislavv

Jurors joining Cordsen on the panel appointed by the Akademie Deutscher Buchpreis, the German Book Prize Academy, are:

  • Knut Cordsen, culture editor with Bayerischer Rundfunk
  • Bettina Fischer, director of the Literaturhaus Cologne
  • Anja Johannsen, director of Literarisches Zentrum Göttingen
  • Richard Kämmerlings, literary correspondent, Die Welt
  • Sandra Kegel, head of the literature and arts section at Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
  • Beate Scherzer, a bookseller with Proust Wörter + Töne
  • Anne-Catherine Simon, editor of the literature and arts section of Die Presse

Beginning this week, the paperback Deutscher Buchpreis 2021. Die Nominierten (German Book Prize 2021. The Nominees) is available free of charge in many bookshops throughout Germany. It contains reading samples from and further information about all the nominated books, curated by Börsenblatt, the trade magazine of the technology and information provider MVB, and invites readers to discover the stories and their authors.

The podcast radio detektor.fm has produced audio samples from the 20 longlisted titles, available here and on the detektor.fm app. All audio samples are available for listening directly on the platforms Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Deezer and Spotify.

Beginning in September, the nominated authors and their novels will be presented in short video clips. These will be available on the site of the German Book Prize, on YouTube and on Instagram. Also on the site, you’ll find in coming weeks, a set of commentary from 20 literary bloggers.

Funding comes from the Deutsche Bank Foundation, and additional partners include the federal government commissioner for culture and the media as well as the City of Frankfurt am Main.  The television network Deutsche Welle supports the German Book Prize in its media activities, domestically and internationally.

On social media, the prize is hashtagged #dbp21


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

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is 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.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As 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.

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