The best novel of the year – Börsenverein presents German Book Prize for the first time in 2005 at the start of the Frankfurt Book Fair

The Members of press conference

Award for the best novel written in German / State minister for culture and the arts Christina Weiss in German Book Prize Academy / Total prize money 37,500 euros / Partners: Gabriele and Dr. Florian Langenscheidt, SPIEGEL-Verlag, Frankfurt Book Fair and Frankfurt City

As an award for the best novel written in German, the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels – German Publishers & Booksellers Association – will in future be presenting the “Deutsche Buchpreis” –German Book Prize - , with prize money totalling 37,500 euros. Based on the concept of awards such as the English Man Booker Prize and France’s Prix Goncourt, it will be presented for the first time in the Kaisersaal at Frankfurt’s Römer on 17 October 2005 at the start of the Frankfurt Book Fair, as the Association announced in today’s press conference. In order to secure the greatest possible independence and transparency for the award procedure, the Börsenverein board has appointed an eleven-member German Book Prize Academy, with representatives of the book and media industries serving alongside Christina Weiss, state minister for education and the arts. Their most important task will be the selection each year of a different jury of five literary experts who will choose the prize winners over several selection stages. The jury for the 2005 German Book Prize will be announced in January 2005.

“An award for the best novel written in German has been lacking. The publishers and booksellers belonging to the Börsenverein see it as their responsibility to help in shaping cultural life in Germany. This is why we are presenting the German Book Prize and are convinced that as an independent literary prize awarded at the start of the world’s biggest book fair, it will attract attention far beyond our industry and our country – for our German-language authors, for reading and for the key medium of the book”, in the words of Dr. Gottfried Honnefelder, publisher at DuMont Literatur und Kunst Verlag and vice-president of the Börsenverein. “We are very pleased that with Gabriele and Florian Langenscheidt, SPIEGEL-Verlag, the Frankfurt Book Fair and Frankfurt City, we have found prestigious partners who share in the dedicated pursuit of our goals.”

This was underlined by Stefan Aust, editor-in-chief of the news magazine DER SPIEGEL: “Journalists have a duty to reality, literary writers can contribute other perspectives – each is as important as the other. All those who write are united in the desire to strengthen the culture of reading in Germany. The German Book Prize can contribute to this.”

“What particularly delights me about the German Book Prize is its unambiguous character. It is firmly committed to the genre of the novel, to the German language, to independence of judgement and to the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s most important get-together for this industry. No compromises, no mistakes”, was how Dr. Florian Langenscheidt explained his support for the prize.

“We are very pleased indeed that alongside the Book Fair, yet another outstanding cultural event is now linked to our city. The significance of Frankfurt as a cultural and book centre can only increase thanks to this”, according to Petra Roth, mayor of Frankfurt City.

The German Book Prize Academy

  • Christina Weiss (state minister for culture and the arts)
  • Dieter Schormann (president of the Börsenverein)
  • Dr. Gottfried Honnefelder (vice-president of the Börsenverein)
  • Volker Neumann (president of the Frankfurt Book Fair)
  • Dr. Joachim Unseld (chairman of the Commercial Publishing Companies Group)
  • Dr. Florian Langenscheidt
  • Matthias Schmolz (publishing management SPIEGEL-Verlag)
  • Elmar Krekeler (winner of the Alfred Kerr Prize for Literary Criticism 2004)
  • Dr. Hendrik Markgraf (editor Börsenblatt)
  • N.N. (representative of the book trade, appointed by the Booksellers Committee of the Börsenverein)
  • N.N. (representative of the publishers associations of Austria and Switzerland, alternating)

Membership is linked to the respective function, not the individual. Every year, the Academy selects the jury and its chairperson and, if necessary, amends the rules for the awarding of the prize. Its members act in an honorary capacity.

The selection process

Every publishing company in Germany, Austria and Switzerland can submit two novels in German from the current or planned list. The books must be published between October 2004 and September 2005 and be on sale in shops at the latest when the short list is announced (mid-September 2005). The Börsenverein will mail out detailed information and submission forms when selection opens in January 2005.

The jury looks through all submissions and if necessary, requests additional titles that it considers to be suitable. It compiles a long list of 20 titles that will be announced in August 2005. From this first selection, the jurors then choose six titles for the short list to be published in September 2005. It will only be on the evening of the prize presentation itself that the six authors find out which of them is awarded the German Book Prize. The winner receives prize money of 25,000 euros with the other five finalists each receiving 2,500 euros.

The press release and photos are available at

Frankfurt am Main, 1 October 2004
Anja zum Hingst
Head of Communication
Phone: +49 (0) 69 1306-291



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German Book Prize 2006


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