Back to overview

Bodo Kirchhoff wins the German Book Prize 2016

Bodo Kirchhoff wins the German Book Prize 2016

© Claus Setzer

The winner of the German Book Prize 2016 is Bodo Kirchhoff for his novel “Widerfahrnis” (Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt).

Statement from the jury:

“Bodo Kirchhoff writes about the unprecedented journey of two people without a destination and with nothing but a direction – the South. They are driven by the age-old longing for love, for red wine, Italy, an adventure later in life. When they pick up a young vagabond along the way, they find themselves once again confronting the elementary themes of their past: loss, parenthood, radical new beginnings. In a densely woven narrative, Kirchhoff succeeds in negotiating the great motifs of his literary oeuvre in a small space. At the same time, he writes about our present and about how two melancholy seekers of good fortune encounter the people who, in this day and age, are setting out in the opposite direction, from South to North. Kirchhoff’s ‘Widerfahrnis’ (‘Experience’) is a many-layered text that masterfully interweaves private and political existential questions and releases the reader out into the open.”

The members of the jury for the German Book Prize 2016 are: Thomas Andre (Hamburger Abendblatt), Lena Bopp (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), Berthold Franke (Goethe-Institut Prague), Susanne Jäggi (Librium  Bücher, Baden), Christoph Schröder (freelance critic, Frankfurt), Sabine Vogel (Berliner Zeitung) and Najem Wali (author and critic, Berlin).

Bodo Kirchhoff prevailed over: Reinhard Kaiser-Mühlecker (“Fremde Seele, dunkler Wald”, S. Fischer), André Kubiczek (“Skizze eines Sommers”, Rowohlt Berlin), Thomas Melle (“Die Welt im Rücken”, Rowohlt Berlin), Eva Schmidt (“Ein langes Jahr”, Jung und Jung) and Philipp Winkler (“Hool”, Aufbau).

The Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels Stiftung – the foundation of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association – awarded the German Book Prize 2016 to the best German-language novel of the year to coincide with the start of the Frankfurt Book Fair. The German Book Prize is financially supported by the Deutsche Bank Foundation. Other partners include the Frankfurt Book Fair 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.

Exclusive English translations of excerpts from the six shortlisted titles as well as an English-language dossier are available at bereit.

More information is available on the Facebook page of the German Book Prize

Bodo Kirchhoff wins the German Book Prize 2016

© Claus Setzer



Robert Menasse wins the German Book Prize 2017


Live broadcast of the award ceremony


German Book Prize: the Shortlist in English


Clear the stage for the German Book Prize 2017: : Events at the Frankfurter Buchmesse


Six novels in the final round

Press contact

Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels e.V.

Thomas Koch
Director Press and Public Relations
Phone +49 (0) 69 1306-293

Cathrin Mund
PR Manager
Phone +49 (0) 69 1306-292