Press Release

German Non-Fiction Prize 2021: Jury nominates eight non-fiction books

Nominations announced / 240 titles were in the running / First awards ceremony to be held on 14 June 2021 at the Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss (Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace)

The jury for the German Non-Fiction Prize 2021 has selected eight non-fiction books for the award. Since the call for submissions began, the seven members of the jury have reviewed 240 titles published since May 2020.

Jury spokeswoman Dr Kia Vahland, Süddeutsche Zeitung, released the following statement:

“The books in this selection vary in style, themes, scope and methods. But they all explore the world in their own unique way and get to the bottom of things. Their authors want to understand before they explain; they avoid well-trodden paths and confront history as well as the present. Their view – of others and of themselves – is unsparing. They each come with very different experiences and knowledge – and, not content with just these, explore new territory through their writing. Doubt, curiosity and a measure of tenacity consume and drive them. In search of insight rather than affirmation, they ask questions that are larger than their respective subjects. In this way, they inspire a broad, inquisitive readership.”

The nominated titles (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Heike Behrend, Menschwerdung eines Affen (Matthes & Seitz Berlin, October 2020)
  • Asal Dardan, Betrachtungen einer Barbarin (Hoffmann und Campe, February 2021)
  • Jürgen Kaube, Hegels Welt (Rowohlt Berlin, August 2020)
  • Andreas Kossert, Flucht. Eine Menschheitsgeschichte (Siedler, October 2020)
  • Daniel Leese, Maos langer Schatten. Chinas Umgang mit der Vergangenheit (C.H.Beck, October 2020)
  • Michael Maar, Die Schlange im Wolfspelz. Das Geheimnis großer Literatur (Rowohlt, October 2020)
  • Christoph Möllers, Freiheitsgrade. Elemente einer liberalen politischen Mechanik (Suhrkamp, September 2020)
  • Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim, Die kleinste gemeinsame Wirklichkeit (Droemer Knaur, March 2021)

In addition to Kia Vahland, the members of the jury include: Dr Klaus Kowalke (“Lessing & Kompanie” bookstore), Tania Martini (die tageszeitung), Dr Jeanne Rubner (Bayerischer Rundfunk), Denis Scheck (ARD), Hilal Sezgin (independent author) and Prof Dr Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger (Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin – Berlin Institute for Advanced Study).

The Stiftung Buchkultur und Leseförderung des Börsenvereins des Deutschen Buchhandels (Foundation for Book Culture and the Promotion of Reading of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association) will award this prize, worth a total of 42,500 euros, for the first time this year to an outstanding non-fiction book written in German that inspires social debate.

From the eight nominated titles, the jury will select the best non-fiction book of the year, which will be announced in Berlin on 14 June 2021. The winner will receive 25,000 euros, the seven nominees 2,500 euros each. The awards ceremony will be held at the Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss (Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace).

Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters is patron of the German Non-Fiction Prize. The Deutsche Bank Stiftung (Deutsche Bank Foundation) is the main sponsor of the prize, which is also supported by the Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss (Foundation of the Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace). The television network Deutsche Welle supports the German Non-Fiction Prize in its media activities both at home and abroad.

Get to know the nominees: conversations, films and blogger reviews

Together with its partners, the German Non-Fiction Prize offers its nominees a platform. Reading enthusiasts and book fans can get to know the nominated titles and their authors through conversations, discussion panels, films, audio clips and in bookshops. More information about the events is available at:

With the hashtag #sachbuchpreisbloggen, eight book bloggers will present the nominated titles in the coming weeks. Their reviews will be shared on the social media pages of the German Non-Fiction Prize.

The hashtag for the German Non-Fiction Prize 2021 is #DSP21


A press photo of the jury and information about the nominated titles for download

More information about the German Non-Fiction Prize 2021 is available at:



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