The German Book Prize Announces Its 2022 Shortlist

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Shortlisted authors will learn only when the winner is announced on October 17 who has been selected the German Book Prize laureate.

Image: Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels

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

Two of Six Titles From Kiepenheuer & Witsch
As you’ll remember, the German Book Prizethe German market’s top fiction award–released its longlist for 2022 on August 23. 

Today (September 20), it has released its shortlist of six titles.

The winner receives prize money of €25,000 (US$24,917). The five finalists each receive €2,500 (US$2,491). This awards program is made possible by the Stiftung Buchkultur und Leseförderung des Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, the foundation of Germany’s publishers and booksellers association.

To get to this point today, the jury started with 233 books from at least 124 publishers. The panel selected its 20-title longlist (one of the world’s longer longlists, actually), and then reduced that to today’s six-book shortlist.

These six shortlisted authors will find out which of them has won the German Book Prize only on the evening of the award ceremony itself, October 17, in the Kaisersaal of the Römer in Frankfurt. That ceremony by tradition of course is held in conjunction with Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 19 to 23).

In a comment on today’s release of the shortlist, jury chair Miriam Zeh of Deutschlandfunk Kultur, says: “A novel makes its own laws but is inevitably in contact with the present in which it is written and read.

Miriam Zeh

“All six titles on the 2022 shortlist won us over with their aesthetic uniqueness,” Zeh says. “With linguistic brilliance and formal innovation, they describe social realities and fantasies, survey the center and margins, and circle around sorrow and comedy.

“The nominated authors thus represent the thematic and stylistic diversity of contemporary German-language literature. What they share is an artistic unconditionality: they take a stand with their books, show themselves to be at once combative and open to dialogue.

“By reading these shortlisted books, we invite readers to also enter into an exchange of ideas and to readjust their own views of the world.”

This year’s jury comprises:

  • Erich Klein, freelance critic based in Vienna
  • Frank Menden of the Hamburg bookstore named Stories
  • Uli Ormanns of Cologne’s Agnes bookstore
  • Isabelle Vonlanthen of Literature House Zurich
  • Selma Wels, curator and moderator in Frankfurt
  • Jan Wiele of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
  • Miriam Zeh of Deutschlandfunk Kultur

The winner today, of course, is Kiepenheuer & Witsch, which publishes two of the six shortlisted titles.

The German Book Prize 2022 Shortlist
  • Fatma Aydemir: Dschinns (Carl Hanser, February 2022)
  • Kristine Bilkau: Nebenan (Penguin Random House Verlagsgruppe / Luchterhand, March 2022)
  • Daniela Dröscher: Lügen über meine Mutter (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, August 2022)
  • Jan Faktor: Trottel (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, September 2022)
  • Kim de l’Horizon: Blutbuch (DuMont, July 2022)
  • Eckhart Nickel: Spitzweg (Piper, April 2022)

Starting on October 4, New Books in German will feature English translations of excerpts from the shortlisted titles, along with an English-language dossier about the shortlist. On the evening of the award’s presentation, radio stations Deutschlandfunk and Deutschlandfunk Kultur will broadcast the ceremony live using the “Dokumente und Debatten” channel on digital radio and as a live stream on Dokumente und Debatten |

Antje Rávik Strubel, as you’ll remember, won the 2021 edition of the prestigious honor in October for Blaue Frau (Blue Woman, S. Fischer Verlage, August 2021). Each year, a new jury is installed by the German Book Prize Academy to help maintain the selection process’ independence. Multiple stints of jury service are permitted.

You can follow the program on social media through the hashtag #dbp22.

This is Publishing Perspectives’ 167th awards report published in the 174 days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.

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 still-ongoing 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.