German Nonfiction Prize: 191 Titles for Its 2024 Cycle

In News by Porter Anderson

The German Nonfiction Prize announces a lower level of submissions for its 2024 award to be named in Hamburg in June.

Hamberg’s Elbphilharmonie, site of the German Nonfiction Prize’s award ceremony in June. Image, January 10 – Getty iStockphoto Spritz-Foto

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

115 German-Language Publishers Competing
With Stefan Koldehoff of Deutschlandfunk now named jury chair by his fellow jurors for this year, the German Nonfiction Prize has announced that it has 191 titles for that jury to consider for this year’s award.

Those 191 books come from 115 German-language publishers. These presses are based in Germany, primarily, where there are 97 submitting publishers. In Switzerland, six books have been put forward for the jurors’ consideration, and 11 titles were proposed by publishers in Austria.

This is not, as a matter of fact, the largest submission load for this program. A prize created in 2020, its initial round of submissions came to 240. In that year, however, the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic scuttled plans for the then-new prize to be given. In later rounds, the prize’s initial submissions have come to as many as 205 books last year and 220 titles in 2021.

This program and its €42,500 award (US46,197) will return to Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie recital hall for its prize ceremony, this year on June 11.

Between now and then, the jurors will work their way through the familiar stages of a longlist, a shortlist, and a winner, along with juries for the myriad other international book and publishing competitions in so many parts of the world.

As Publishing Perspectives readers will remember, this contest pays €25,000 to its winner (US$26,715) and €2,500 to each of its seven nominees (US$2,671), making its total payout €42,500.

Claudia Roth

Publishers had until November 17 to submit two German-language monographs from the current or planned program and recommend up to five additional titles. The titles will have been published between April 19 of last year and April 23. They must be available in bookstores no later than the announcement of the shortlist on April 23.

That list of recommendations, by the way, has come to 136 titles, and the jury has the prerogative to call in further titles from that list.

From its April shortlist, the jury chooses the winner, meaning that this program does not produce a longlist. In light of the plethora of book awards programs in world publishing—all of them vying for limited available press attention—the largely superfluous longlist stage may begin to seem less and less important to many awards programs organizers in the future. The German Nonfiction Prize is relatively young,

From its shortlist, the jurors determine the nonfiction book of the year. It’s only on the evening of the award ceremony that the eight authors find out which of them will receive the German Nonfiction Prize.

The patron of the German Nonfiction Prize is minister of state for culture, Claudia Roth.

Jurors named for the 2024 German Nonfiction Prize are, upper row from left, Sibylle Anderl (image: Mathis Beutel); Julika Griem; Michael Hagner; and Stefan Koldehoff (image: Sarah Koldehoff). On the lower row from left are Michael Lemling (image: Matthias Kneppeck); Patricia Rahemipour; and Katrin Vohland

The 2023 Winner: Ewald Frie

Last year, the author Ewald Frie was named the winner of the prize for his book 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), published in February by C.H. Beck. His work was among 231 titles submitted by 128 publishers, and was commended as a “quiet farewell to rural life.”

In presenting the award to Frie, Karin Schmidt-Friderichs, head of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, Germany’s publishers and booksellers association, said, “The German Nonfiction Prize has established itself as an important platform for nonfiction and contemporary issues.

“The titles nominated by the jury are a panopticon of currently relevant questions. They show me where my world view and my knowledge need to be strengthened.

“This is where our self-commitment as a book industry becomes clear: We want to offer diverse and high-quality content and arouse curiosity and interest so that people are happy to share it.”

The Book Culture and Reading Promotion Foundation of the Börsenverein is the driving body behind this award. It’s given to a work that’s expressly considered by the jury to “provide impetus for social debate.”

The main sponsor of the award is the Deutsche Bank Foundation, and it also has support from the City of Hamburg, the ZEIT Foundation Ebelin, and Gerd Bucerius.

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.

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.