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German Book Prize 2020: Jury nominates 20 novels

Longlist published / 206 titles were in the running / Shortlist to be announced on 15 September
Erstellt am 18.08.2020

The jury for the German Book Prize 2020 has chosen 20 novels for the longlist. Since the call for submissions went out, the seven members of the jury have reviewed 206 titles published – or yet to be published – between October 2019 and 15 September 2020, when the shortlist will be announced.

Jury spokeswoman Hanna Engelmeier, Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen (Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities) and author released the following statement: “Unlike reading the news in recent months, exploring the more than 200 titles submitted offered many glimmers of hope. The jury was presented with a panorama of novels of a predominantly realistic bent. A particularly significant number of them make use of (auto)biographical narration, and titles that deal with historical themes are also strongly represented. The longlist reflects these focal points, but also includes novels dedicated to more recent debates on identity politics. We are pleased that there are also books that break up and experiment with the novelistic form. The longlist thus represents not only a diverse range of themes but also this season’s range of poetic forms of expression.”

The nominated novels (in alphabetical order) are:

•    Helena Adler, Die Infantin trägt den Scheitel links (Jung und Jung, February 2020)
•    Birgit Birnbacher, Ich an meiner Seite (Paul Zsolnay, March 2020)
•    Bov Bjerg, Serpentinen (Claassen, January 2020)
•    Arno Camenisch, Goldene Jahre (Engeler, May 2020)
•    Roman Ehrlich, Malé (S. Fischer, September 2020)
•    Dorothee Elmiger, Aus der Zuckerfabrik (Carl Hanser, August 2020)
•    Valerie Fritsch, Herzklappen von Johnson & Johnson (Suhrkamp, February 2020)
•    Thomas Hettche, Herzfaden (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, September 2020)
•    Charles Lewinsky, Der Halbbart (Diogenes, August 2020)
•    Deniz Ohde, Streulicht (Suhrkamp, August 2020)
•    Leif Randt, Allegro Pastell (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, March 2020)
•    Stephan Roiss, Triceratops (Kremayr & Scheriau, August 2020)
•    Robert Seethaler, Der letzte Satz (Hanser Berlin, August 2020)
•    Eva Sichelschmidt, Bis wieder einer weint (Rowohlt Hundert Augen, January 2020)
•    Anne Weber, Annette, ein Heldinnenepos (Matthes & Seitz Berlin, February 2020)
•    Olivia Wenzel, 1000 Serpentinen Angst (S. Fischer, March 2020)
•    Frank Witzel, Inniger Schiffbruch (Matthes & Seitz Berlin, February 2020)
•    Iris Wolff, Die Unschärfe der Welt (Klett-Cotta, August 2020)
•    Jens Wonneberger, Mission Pflaumenbaum (Müry Salzmann, October 2019)
•    Christine Wunnicke, Die Dame mit der bemalten Hand (Berenberg, August 2020)

In addition to Hanna Engelmeier, the members of the jury include: Katharina Borchardt (literature editor, SWR2), David Hugendick (literature editor, Zeit Online), Chris Möller (propagator of literature at Kabeljau & Dorsch, Berlin), Maria-Christina Piwowarski (“ocelot” bookstore, Berlin), Felix Stephan (literature editor, Süddeutsche Zeitung) and Denise Zumbrunnen (“Never Stop Reading” bookstore, Zurich).

The next step will be for the jurors to select six titles from the longlist for inclusion on the shortlist, which will be announced on 15 September 2020. The six shortlisted authors will only find out who amongst them has won the German Book Prize on the evening of the award ceremony itself. The winner will receive 25,000 euros, the five finalists 2,500 euros each. The prize will be awarded on 12 October 2020 at the start of the Frankfurter Buchmesse (Frankfurt Book Fair) via live broadcast from the Kaisersaal of the Frankfurt Römer. 

The German Book Prize is awarded by the Stiftung Buchkultur und Leseförderung des Börsenvereins des Deutschen Buchhandels (Foundation for Book Culture and the Promotion of Reading of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association). It receives funding from Deutsche Bank Foundation, and additional partners include Frankfurter Buchmesse and the city of Frankfurt am Main. The television network Deutsche Welle supports the German Book Prize in its media activities both at home and abroad.

Press photo of the jury for download
From left to right: Maria-Christina Piwowarski, Chris Möller, Denise Zumbrunnen, Katharina Borchardt, Felix Stephan, David Hugendick, Hanna Engelmeier

More information about the German Book Prize 2020 can be found at 

The hashtag for the German Book Prize 2020 is #dbp20

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