By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
‘Intelligent, Far-Sighted, Committed, Knowledgeable’Largely eclipsed last week by the news-overhang of London Book Fair, the German Nonfiction Prize has released its 2023 shortlist of eight titles.
As our readers know, the highly prestigious German Nonfiction Prize is worth a total €42,500 (US$46,728). The winner receives €25,000 (US$27,488), and the seven runners-up €2,500 each (US$2,748). What this award’s jury expressly has searched for in 231 titles submitted by 128 publishers is “a German-language nonfiction book that inspires social debate.”
At least 128 presses are reported by the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, Germany’s publishers and booksellers association, to have put forward candidates. This makes it all the more impressive that CH Beck has three of the eight shortlisted titles in its list.
In a statement of rationale from the jury, Jeanne Rubner—acting as chair for the panel—says, “Nonfiction books that encourage their readers to keep thinking and changing their perspective—this is what mattered to the jury throughout. And the authors of the nominated titles succeed in this brilliantly.
“They shed light on current debates and crises, opened up new perspectives and propose solutions. How much individuality can a society take? Is there a fairer way to organize work? Why do we find it so difficult to deal with refugees in a humane way?
“Looking back to history, the nominated authors have explained conflicts such as” the Russian assault on Ukraine.
“Making connections between disciplines, they ask how did morality develop and what are the limits of the human ability to cooperate?
“Taking very personal, autobiographical standpoints, they provide explanations for foreignness, the contrasts between city and country, and anti-Semitism. Intelligent, far-sighted, committed and knowledgeable–these are the qualities that make the nominated titles stand out.”
The German Nonfiction Prize 2023 Shortlist
- Omri Boehm, Radikaler Universalismus: Jenseits von Identität (Radical Universalism: Beyond Identity, Ullstein / Propyläen, September 2022)
- Teresa Bücker, Alle Zeit: Eine Frage von Macht und Freiheit (All Time: A Question of Power and Freedom, Ullstein, October 2022)
- Ewald Frie, Ein Hof und elf Geschwister: Der stille Abschied vom bäuerlichen Leben in Deutschland (One Farm and 11 Siblings: The Quiet Farewell to Rural Life in Germany, CH Beck, February 2023)
- Judith Kohlenberger, Das Fluchtparadox: Über unseren widersprüchlichen Umgang mit Vertreibung und Vertriebenen (The Escape Paradox: On Our Contradictory Handling of Expulsion and Displaced People, Kremayr & Scheriau, August 2022)
- Meron Mendel, Über Israel reden: Eine deutsche Debatte (Talk About Israel: A German Debate, Kiepenheuer & Witsch, March 2023)
- Hanno Sauer, Moral: Die Erfindung von Gut und Böse (Moral: The Invention of Good and Piper, March 2023)
- Martin Schulze Wessel, Der Fluch des Imperiums: Die Ukraine, Polen und der Irrweg in der russischen Geschichte (The Curse of the Empire: Ukraine, Poland, and the Wrong Track in Russian History, CH Beck, March 2023)
- Elisabeth Wellershaus, Wo die Fremde beginnt: Über Identität in der fragilen Gegenwart (Where the Stranger Begins: About Identity in the Fragile Present, CH Beck, January 2023)
As we reported in November, the prize’s jury comprises:
- Julika Griem (Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities [KWI] Essen)
- Stefan Koldehoff (Deutschlandfunk)
- Michael Lemling (Buchhandlung Lehmkuhl bookshop)
- Markus Rex (Alfred Wegener Institute)
- Jeanne Rubner (Technical University of Munich)
- Adam Soboczynski (Die ZEIT)
- Mirjam Zadoff (Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism)
As Publishing Perspectives readers will remember, author Stephan Malinowski was named the winner of the 2022 German Nonfiction Prize for his book Die Hohenzollern und die Nazis: Geschichte einer Kollaboration (The Hohenzollerns and the Nazis: History of a Collaboration), published by Ullstein Buchverlage.
The June 1 announcement of the winner is to be held in the Small Hall of the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, a move that reflects the program’s new partnership with the city.
The complex originally designed by the Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron is almost as famous for its cost overruns (reaching a reported €866 million, or US$831.9 million) before it opened in January 2017.
More from Publishing Perspectives on the German Nonfiction Prize is here, and more on publishing and book awards in general is here. More on the German market is here, and more on nonfiction is here.
Publishing Perspectives cordially continues to recommend to our international awards and prize program organizers that they avoid releasing major news about their operations during the world industry’s main trade shows or book fairs. This is because the international trade professionals they may be most eager to reach through our subscriber base are focused on the business and programming of these industry-leading shows. Publishing’s executives, rights directors, international rights agents, and scouts are less likely to be able to take in the news about longlists, shortlists, and wins while caught up in these, the most consuming and challenging weeks of the world publishing calendar each year. And there’s every likelihood that our editorial framework will be unable to consider coverage of these announcements during the key shows of the year.