Awards Season: The 2022 German Nonfiction Prize: 205 Titles Submitted by 130 Publishers

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The second cycle of the German Nonfiction Prize has again drawn submissions from publishers in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

‘Die Tageszeitung’ journalist Tania Martini has been chosen to serve as chair of the German Nonfiction Prize 2022 jury. Image: Taz

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

An Eight-Title Nominations List Is Due April 12
At least 130 German-language publishers have submitted a total 205 titles for the still-young German Nonfiction Prize, organizers have announced today (January 11). Those numbers are slightly behind last year’s submissions. The program reported on January 12, 2021, that 135 publishers had submitted 220 titles.

As Publishing Perspectives readers will recall, the jury for the program was announced in early November by the Akademie Deutscher Sachbuchpreis (Academy of the German Nonfiction Prize):

  • Klaus Kowalke (Lessing & Kompanie bookstore)
  • Stefan Koldehoff (Deutschlandfunk)
  • Tania Martini (die tageszeitung)
  • Meron Mendel (Bildungsstätte Anne Frank – Anne Frank Educational Centre)
  • Jeanne Rubner (Bayerischer Rundfunk)
  • Denis Scheck (ARD)
  • Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger (Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin – Berlin Institute for Advanced Study)

The jurors have chosen die tageszeitung (“Taz”) journalist Tania Martini to be their chairwoman.

The jury’s next step will be to produce an eight-title list of nominations for an April 12 announcement. The winning work will be named on May 30, again at the Humboldt Forum at the Berlin Palace.

Jurors for the 2022 German Nonfiction Prize with Tania Martini as their chair are, from left, Klaus Kowalke, Stefan Koldehoff, Meron Mendel, Jeanne Rubner, Denis Scheck, and Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger

Second Award Cycle for the German Nonfiction Prize

This is the program that had been planned for a 2020 debut, but the intervention of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible to go on with the program’s first year. Ironically, that lost year for the award saw its biggest tallies to date in terms of submissions organizers reported that 152 publishers submitted 240 monographs.

The effort to inaugurate the German Nonfiction Prize was “broken off prematurely,” as the organizers put it, and was revived for 2021. Jürgen Kaube won the actual inaugural 2021 prize in June, for his biography Hegel’s World (Rowohlt, August 17, 2020).

Today’s media messaging says that the submissions made for the 2022 round break down this way: 112 submitting publishers are in Germany; 11 are in Austria; and seven are in Switzerland.

Each publisher could submit a maximum of two works that appeared or will appear between May 2021 and April of this year, when the announcement of the nominees is anticipated. In addition, each publisher could recommend up to five additional titles from their own lists. That group of recommendations comprises 161 titles.

The jury can request additional titles from the list of recommendations, if desired.

The Stiftung Buchkultur und Leseförderung des Börsenvereins des Deutschen Buchhandels (the Foundation for Book Culture and the Promotion of Reading of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association) will award the prize, worth a total of €42,500 (US48,316) on 30 May 2022.

The award honors an outstanding nonfiction book written in German that inspires social debate. The winner receives €25,000, the seven nominees €2,500 each.

The Deutsche Bank Stiftung (Deutsche Bank Foundation) is the main sponsor of the prize, which is also supported by the Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss (the Foundation of the Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace).

At the 2021 German Nonfiction Prize award ceremony in the Humboldt Forum at the Berlin Palace. Image – Börsenverein, Monique Wüstenhagen

The Coronavirus in Germany

Eyebrows were raised on Monday night (January 10), when Germany’s health minister, Karl Lauterbach, said during a talk show that the Boris Johnson government’s light-touch response to B.1.1.529, the #omicron variant, are “an unethical bet,” as reported by Politico’s Louis Westendarp.

Reuters Berlin reports, “The ruling Social Democrats (SPD) expect a bill on making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory in Germany to be voted on by parliament in March, the party’s leader in the legislature said on Tuesday.” Running behind on vaccination rates by comparison to some parts of Europe, Germany reported 45,690 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, per Reuters’ figures, 50 percent more than a week ago.

“Some 72 percent of Germany’s population is double-vaccinated against the virus and around 43.5 percent have received a booster shot,” according to the wire service.

At this writing, the 5:22 p.m. ET (2222 GMT) update of the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center sees on a 28-day rolling basis, 988,928 cases in Germany’s population of 83 million, with 7,896 fatalities.

During the full run of the pandemic (as opposed to the 28-day rolling average), Germany has reported a total 7,631,453 cases and 114,522 deaths.


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

And 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 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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