German Nonfiction Prize Names Its 2023 Shortlist

In News by Porter Anderson

The jury for the German Nonfiction Prize has selected eight titles from an original pool of 231 for its 2023 award cycle.

Image: Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, Christof Jakob

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.

Jeanne Rubner

“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

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.

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.com, 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.