Book Prizes

The literary landscapes of Germany, Austria and Switzerland are home to numerous prizes. Here, we summarise some of the key awards and signpost to where you can find out more information.

The German Book Prize

Launched in 2005, the German Book Prize is the equivalent of the Man Booker Prize, seeking the best novel written in German in each publishing year. It is awarded at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.

Find out more here.

New Books in German is the prize’s English-language media partner; we announce both the long- and shortlist for the prize on this website.

Most of its winners have already been translated into English: Arno Geiger’s We Are Doing Fine (tr. Maria Poglitsch Bauer; Ariadne Press, 2010), Katharina Hacker’s The Have-Nots (tr. Helen Atkins; Europa Editions, 2008), Julia Franck’s The Blind Side of the Heart (tr. Anthea Bell; Harvill, 2009), The Tower by Uwe Tellkamp (tr. Michael Mitchell; Penguin, 2014), Fly away, Pigeon by Melinda Nadj Abonji (tr. Tess Lewis; Seagull, 2014) and In Times of Fading Light by Eugen Ruge (tr. Anthea Bell; Faber, 2013). The 2014 winner, Lutz Seiler’s Kruso, is forthcoming with Scribe (tr. Tess Lewis). 

 

Other German Book Prizes

This list of the 10 most valuable literary prizes gives a brief overview of the literary prizes in Germany.

The Swiss Book Prize

The Swiss Book Prize is awarded every November to an author writing in German who has been living in Switzerland for at least two years. Founded in 2008, it is coordinated by the Basel Literature Association and the Swiss Booksellers and Publishers Association and is funded by private sponsors. The winner receives CHF 30,000 (c. £20,000) and the four shortlisted authors each receive CHF 2,500.

The Austrian Book Prize

The aim of the annual Austrian Book Prize is to honour the quality and originality of Austrian literature and to give it the attention it deserves throughout the German-speaking world. Find out more here.

Other Austrian Prizes

Erich-Fried-Prize for Literature & Language (Austria) 

Austrian State Prize for European Literature

Austrian Children & Youth Book Prize

Austrian State Prize for Children’s Poetry

State Prize Most Beautiful Books in Austria

Prize of the City of Vienna for Literature

Literature Prize within the European Capital of Culture Salzkammergut 2024

Other significant prizes

The Georg Büchner Prize

The Georg Büchner Prize is Germany’s most prestigious literary award. It honours a lifetime’s work, and is awarded annually by the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung (‘German Academy for Language and Literature’). The award is given to authors ‘writing in the German language whose oeuvre shows them to be vital contributors to the shaping of contemporary German cultural life’, and is endowed with EUR 50,000. Four winners of the Georg Büchner Prize have since been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature: Günter Grass (1965), Heinrich Böll (1967), Elias Canetti (1972) and Elfriede Jelinek (1998). Find out more here.

The Leipzig Book Fair Prize

The Leipzig Book Fair Prize is awarded at the Book Fair in March, with awards for fiction and non-fiction. Recent fiction winners include Guntram Vesper, Jan Wagner, Saša Stanišić, David Wagner, Wolfgang Herrndorf and Clemens J. Setz. Find out more here.

The German Crime Fiction Prize

The German Crime Fiction Prize has been running since 1985 and is the longest-running prize for crime fiction. The winner is selected by a panel of journalists and critics. Two prizes are awarded each year: one for the best crime novel written in German and the other for the best international crime novel. Find out more here

The Bremen Prize

The Bremen Prize honours a single work in German, and is awarded by the Rudolf Alexander Schröder Foundation. It is endowed with EUR 20,000, along with a ‘Förderpreis’ for emerging talent. The prize-giving takes place at the end of January and is accompanied by a literature festival, consisting of talks, workshops, lectures and discussions, as well as readings from the work of the prize-winners. 

The Ingeborg Bachmann Prize

The Ingeborg Bachmann Prize is unusual amongst literary prizes in that it honours an author for a literary excerpt rather than a whole work or oeuvre. Often the excerpt is taken from a work that has yet to be published. In addition, it is one of the most public prizes, with the shortlisted authors reading from their works during the Festival of German-Language Literature at Klagenfurt, Austria, and receiving often biting criticism from the jury. The prize money is EUR 25,000 and is funded by the city of Klagenfurt.