German Book Prize: ‘Nationwide Blind Date Readings’ With Authors

In News by Porter Anderson

The German Book Prize announces a series of readings with long- and shortlisted authors, running through October 1 and set in many parts of Germany.

At Berlin’s PalaisPopulaire, one of the venues hosting an author event in the 2021 German Book Prize series. Image: PalaisPopulaire

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

‘Nationwide Blind Date Readings’
Those of our readers who follow the German Book Prize will want to know that the program has announced today (August 17) a series of readings by nominated authors, set in September and October at venues in Germany, in some cases with live streams for those not physically in place.

The program of a total 11 events being announced today starts on September 9 and has intermittent dates through to October 1, including a “Big Longlist Evening,” and a program with the shortlisted authors, as well. And one of the most interesting twists is that in the majority of the sessions, an audience won’t know which author they’ll hear until the program starts: “blind date readings.”

We have the full list of events for you below.

As you’ll remember, the German Book Prize  is awarded by the Stiftung Buchkultur und Leseförderung des Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, which is the foundation of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels—Germany’s publishers and booksellers association. On February 9, the program announced its jury and opened submissions to publishers.

Upcoming dates in the cycle:

  • The jury is compiling a longlist of 20 titles, to be announced on August 24–an overview of the nominated titles and authors will be available at that point here
  • From that list, the jurors then 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$29,294), and each of the other five finalists receives €2,500 (US$2,928).

And, 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.

German Book Prize 2021 Author Events Plan

At Hauffes Book Salon in Remagen, one of the Börsenverein-member bookstores that applied to host an author reading. Image: Hauffes Book Salon

The events schedule is dominated by a series of what organizers call “nationwide blind date readings” in which a given reading’s audience will discover which of the nominated authors will be heard that evening. There are eight of these programs held at bookstores.

The stores featuring the programs are members of the Börsenverein and applied for one of these “blind date readings” in March. In-person audiences can expect each presenter-store to have complied with prevailing COVID-19 regulations at the time of a reading.

The ninth of these programs is a moderated reading organized by the Deutsche Bank Foundation, the prize’s main sponsor, in coordination with the PalaisPopulaire in Berlin.

All times listed are in the Central European Time zone. Live streaming is available on the events noted and details of contact information and registration is here.

  • September 3, 5 p.m., ‘Big Longlist Evening’ Literaturhaus Hamburg, Freie Akademie der Künste, Hamburg, live stream with a €7 charge (US$8.20)
  • September 9, 7 p.m., Bookworm, Braunschweig
  • September 10, 7 p.m., Hauffes Book Salon, Remagen
  • September 10, 7:30 p.m., Petra Esser bookstore, Kaarst, with live stream
  • September 14, 6.30 p.m., Marx bookstore, Zwickau at the Zwickau City Library
  • September 16, 7 p.m., Culture bookstore Jastram, Ulm
  • September 16, 7 p.m., Deutsche Bank Foundation and PalaisPopulaire, Berlin, live stream on YouTube: Literature and Nomination for the German Book Prize 2021
  • September 16, 7:30 p.m., New Collibri, Bamberg
  • September 17, 7:30 p.m., Bookstore Fuhlsbüttel, Hamburg
  • September 19, 11 a.m., Carolin Wolf bookstore, Bruchsal
  • October 1, 6 p.m., Literaturhaus Frankfurt, finalists of the German Book Prize 2021 are seen in person and in a live stream
The 2021 German Book Prize Jury

Jurors in the 2021 German Book Prize are, from left, Sandra Kegel, Anja Johannsen, Beate Scherzer, Anne-Catherine Simon, Richard Kämmerlings, Bettina Fischer, and Knut Cordsen. Image: Börsenverein,

Jurors for the program are appointed by the Akademie Deutscher Buchpreis, the German Book Prize Academy, which has announced this slate for the new year:

  • 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

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 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 (Fellow, 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.