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German Book Prize 2020: The six finalists

The jury has selected six novels for the shortlist of the German Book Prize 2020.
Erstellt am 15.09.2020

The jury has selected six novels for the shortlist of the German Book Prize 2020: 


  • Bov Bjerg, Serpentinen (Claassen, January 2020) 

  • Dorothee Elmiger, Aus der Zuckerfabrik (Carl Hanser, August 2020) 

  • Thomas Hettche, Herzfaden (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, September 2020) 

  • Deniz Ohde, Streulicht(Suhrkamp, August 2020) 

  • Anne Weber, Annette, ein Heldinnenepos (Matthes & Seitz Berlin, February 2020) 

  • Christine Wunnicke, Die Dame mit der bemalten Hand (Berenberg, August 2020) 

Regarding this selection, jury spokesperson Hanna Engelmeier, Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen (Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities) and Author, says: “We have nominated six novels that won us over with the power of their linguistic expression and their formal innovation while also demonstrating political urgency in a particularly clever manner. Some draw on unexpected sources or turn to historical material to arrive at major universal questions. At the same time, the shortlist also includes outstanding titles that address biographical and contemporary topics in surprising ways.”

Since the submission process began, the seven members of the jury have reviewed 206 titles published between October 2019 and 15 September 2020.

In addition to Hanna Engelmeier, the members of the jury for the German Book Prize 2020 are: 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 Stiftung Buchkultur und Leseförderung des Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (Foundation for Book Culture and the Promotion of Reading of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association) awards the German Book Prize 2020 to the best German-language novel of the year. The winner receives 25,000 euros, the five finalists 2,500 euros each. The award ceremony will be broadcast live on 12 October 2020 at 6 PM from the Kaisersaal of the Frankfurt Römer to coincide with the start of Frankfurter Buchmesse.

The German Book Prize receives financial support from Deutsche Bank Stiftung (Deutsche Bank Foundation), and other 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. Those interested can watch the award ceremony via live stream at

The radio stations Deutschlandfunk and Deutschlandfunk Kultur will also broadcast the ceremony live via the special “Dokumente und Debatten” channel on digital radio and as a live stream on

Starting on 1 October 2020, the website will feature English translations of excerpts from the shortlisted titles, along with an English-language dossier about the shortlist.

Video portraits posted on the website and social media channels of the German Book Prize offer an impression of the nominated works and their authors.

The hashtag for the German Book Prize is: #dbp20 


Press photo and information about the nominated titles for download 

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