The German Book Prize Announces Its 2023 Shortlist

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The awards ceremony for the German Book Prize is set for Frankfurt on October 16 before the start of Frankfurter Buchmesse.

Image: Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, Christof Jakob

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

See also: The German Book Prize Names Its 2023 Longlist

‘Such Acuity, as Well as Wit and Warmth’
In one of the largest annual longlist-to-shortlist culls in the industry, the German Book Prize today (September 19) has announced its six-title shortlist of fiction, as selected by its jury from a 20-book longlist.

Our readership is familiar with the €25,000 (US$26,716) German Book Prize for fiction, awarded by the Stiftung Buchkultur und Leseförderung des Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, the foundation of Germany’s publishers and booksellers association. That 20-book longlist was drawn from an opening submission pool of 196 novels.

In addition to the winning author’s €25,000 purse, each of the five finalists receives €2,500 (US$2,672).

The awards ceremony will take place in the Kaisersaal of the Frankfurt Römer on October 16, two days before the start of Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 18 to 22), and will be broadcast live. Those interested can watch the award ceremony here.

The 2023 German Book Prize Shortlist
Title Author Publisher and/or Imprint
Muna oder Die Hälfte des Lebens Terézia Mora Verlagsgruppe Random House / Luchterhand Literaturverlag
Vatermal Necati Öziri Ullstein / Claassen
Die Möglichkeit von Glück Anne Rabe Klett-Cotta
Echtzeitalter Tonio Schachinger Holtzbrinck / Rowohlt Verlag
Maman Sylvie Schenk Carl Hanser Verlag
Drifter Ulrike Sterblich Holtzbrinck / Rowohlt Verlag
The 2023 Jury: ‘A Conversation With Each Other’

This year’s jury in the German Book Prize comprises:

  • Chair: Katharina Teutsch (independent critic)
  • Shila Behjat (journalist and publicist)
  • Heinz Drügh (Goethe University Frankfurt am Main)
  • Melanie Muhl (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)
  • Lisa Schumacher (bookshop “Steinmetz’sche Buchhandlung”, Offenbach)
  • Florian Valerius (bookshop “Gegenlicht Buchhandlung”, Trier)
  • Matthias Weichelt (Sense and Form literary journal)

Katharina Teutsch

In a statement today, jury chair Katharina Teutsch is quoted talking about the six shortlisted titles, and many may find her comments heartening, as she speaks of serious fiction, a set of writings that examine the world and our condition in it. Clearly, the goal of this jury is to find deep observation and enriched perception in literature over lightweight, commercialized entertainment. They have selected no bromides.

Teutsch describes the shortlisted selections as “six novels that, at first glance, have nothing to do with each other. They are set in different times, describe different milieus in different countries, and each one finds the most convincing means of expressing its respective world.

“But if you put these six novels side by side, they inevitably enter into a conversation with each other. This conversation is about the things that shape us: about our upbringings and social origins, political ideologies, dramatic changes in governing systems, and the hardships of migration—in other words, about everything that makes up our present and challenges it.

“The shortlisted authors write about it with such acuity, as well as wit and warmth, that reading these books leaves us asking ourselves not only where we come from, but also where we want to go.”

A programming note: In the 2023 edition of our Publishing Perspectives Forum at Frankfurter Buchmesse, we’ll welcome a group of diverse independent publishers from several international markets to compare and contrast the issues and challenges they see in the field of independent publishing this season. 

That session will feature:

  • Sharky Chen, founder, Comma Books, and president, Indie Publishers Association of Taiwan
  • Tom Kraushaar, publishing director, Klett-Cotta — Germany
  • Sevani Matos, president, Brazilian Book Chamber (CBL) and general director of VR Editora
  • Melissa Wakhu, CEO, Sol Kids Africa — Kenya

That session is set for 11 a.m. on Frankfurt Wednesday, October 18, in Room Spektrum, Level 2 at the Messe Frankfurt Congress Center. More information on that and our other programming at Publishing Perspectives Forum–all free to Frankfurt trade visitors and exhibitors–is here.

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.

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.

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