The German Book Prize: The Best in German Literature in 2013

Open book with pages bent into a heart

The German Book Prize: The Best in German Literature in 2013

The jury has been selected and the year’s top six books have been announced. On October 7th, one author will receive the German Book Prize, 25,000 euro, and considerable prestige during the ceremony that will kick off another Frankfurt Book Fair.
by Nicolette Stewart

The process begins with the selection of the jury by the German Book Prize Academy, an organization made up of representatives of the book and media industry and created specifically for the task.  Publishers can then nominate up to two titles from their catalogues and recommend another five.  The books must have been published between October of the previous year and September of the current year and must be in shops by September 11th of that year.

With 164 titles submitted this year from 101 publishers from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, the jurors had a lot of reading to do to narrow the nominees down to a longlist of 20 titles and, finally, a shortlist of six.

“The jury engaged in exciting debates and friendly discussions in which passionate, dedicated literary voices prevailed and no compromises were made on the candidates selected,” said Helmut Böttiger, an independent critic and jury spokesman for the 2013 prize. “The shortlist features a broad range of writing styles that reflect the wide variety of contemporary literary possibilities: lyrical imagery, powerful notions of the world, and intricate and psychologically accurate constellations of characters. The contemporary German-language novel has proven to be more dynamic than ever.”

The prize was created in 2005 in order to draw attention to German-language authors and is similar to the Man Booker Prize for Fiction awarded each year in the United States.

“Literature requires courage in many respects,” said Prof. Dr. Gottfried Honnefelder, director of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels and chairman of the Akademie Deutscher Buchpreis when he addressed guests at the 2012 award ceremony. “But it’s undoubtedly the authors themselves who have shown the greatest courage by submitting their novels to the debate surrounding the literary prize. For this and for their powerful works I would like to thank the authors nominated for the German Book Prize. The German literature that has emerged in recent years has stood the test set forth with the establishment of the German Book Prize. It holds its own in every literary debate, appeals far beyond the German-speaking world and has achieved a unique, indelible resonance.”

The 2013 German Book Prize Short List Nominees are as follows:

Mirko Bonné: Nie mehr Nacht (Schöffling & Co., August 2013) 

Reinhard Jirgl: Nichts von euch auf Erden (Hanser, February 2013) 

Clemens Meyer: Im Stein (S. Fischer, August 2013)

Terézia Mora: Das Ungeheuer (Luchterhand, September 2013) 

Marion Poschmann: Die Sonnenposition (Suhrkamp, August 2013)   

Monika Zeiner: Die Ordnung der Sterne über Como (Blumenbar, March 2013)

Be there live

If you would like to listen in on the awards ceremony, you can tune into a live stream at or watch the live video stream at  Visit the German Book Prize website for more information on the organization, the nominees, and the award.

by Nicolette Stewart