About the Prize

Goals, dates and terms and conditions


Beginning in 2020, the Stiftung Buchkultur und Leseförderung (Foundation for Book Culture and the Promotion of Reading) will honour the German non-fiction book of the year. Awards will be presented to outstanding non-fiction written in German. Criteria for the award are: a relevant subject, the narrative quality of the text, the presentation of the topic, the clarity of the language and accessibility of the material and the quality of the research.

The prize, worth a total of 42,500 euros, will be awarded on 16 July 2020 at the Humboldt Forum in Berlin for the first time.

The Non-Fiction Prize aims to promote awareness of non-fiction as a basis for transmitting knowledge, developing informed opinions and encouraging public discourse.

The Deutsche Bank Stiftung (Deutsche Bank Foundation) is the main sponsor of the prize, which is also supported by the technology and information provider MVB and the Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss (Foundation of the Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace). Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters is patron of the German Non-Fiction Prize.

I cannot imagine a world without books that explain the world. That is exactly what non-fiction does – and sometimes it even changes the world, or at least makes it a little bit better. It’s marvellous that this is being recognised and rewarded with a prize for German-language non-fiction.Margit Ketterle, publishing director non-fiction Droemer Knaur

Prize money and awards ceremony

The German Non-Fiction Prize is endowed with a total of 42,500 euros. The winner receives 25,000 euros, the seven nominees 2,500 euros each. The non-fiction book of the year will be announced at the awards ceremony on 16 June 2020 at the Humboldt Forum in Berlin. The eight nominated authors will only find out who is the winner of the German Non-Fiction Prize on the evening of the awards ceremony.

The selection process

Publishers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland may submit up to two German-language non-fiction books from their current or planned programme for consideration for the prize. The jury reviews all submitted books that meet the criteria for participation and may request additional titles that it deems appropriate.

The non-fiction book of the year is selected through a two-stage process. First, the jury compiles a list of nominations comprising eight titles, which will be announced around World Book Day in April 2020. From this selection, the members of the jury then choose the non-fiction book of the year, which will be announced in June 2020.

Expanding horizons and inspiring debate – these are two key attributes of non-fiction. As a result, the German Non-Fiction Prize contributes significantly to a wide-ranging social discourse.Jürgen Fitschen, Chairman of the Deutsche Bank Stiftung (Deutsche Bank Foundation)

The jury

The jury of the German Non-Fiction Prize is composed of seven experts from the areas of non-fiction criticism, journalism, science, the cultural sector and the book trade. The jury is comprised of new members each year. The Jury of 2020 will be announced on 5 November 2019.

Die Akademie

(Academy of the German Non-Fiction Prize)

The primary task of the advisory board is to select the members of the jury each year. The members of the Akademie des Deutschen Sachbuchpreises include representatives of the book, media and culture industries, science, as well as sponsors and partners of the prize. The Chairman is the President of the Börsenverein Heinrich Riethmüller.

Knowledge! Education! Information! Good non-fiction deciphers and makes sense of a puzzling world.Michael Lemling, Lehmkuhl bookstore, Munich


Publishers may submit up to two German-language non-fiction books from their current or planned programme for consideration for the prize. Titles that have not yet been published may also be submitted; in this case, the manuscript should be provided first, followed by the book as soon as it is available in printed form.

Applicants must be members of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels or of the Swiss or Austrian equivalents, the Schweizer Buchhändler- und Verleger-Verband and the Hauptverband des Österreichischen Buchhandels. Authors may not submit their work independently. The complete list of submitted titles will not be made public.

The submitted titles must

  • satisfy the criteria for non-fiction, technically and in terms of content (according to the jury’s definition)
  • be German-language original editions
  • be monographs with a clearly identifiable author
  • be published between May of the previous year and the date on which the nominations are announced
  • be available in bookstores no later than the date on which the nominations are announced

Submission period

The submission period begins on 23 September and ends on 22 November 2019. Submission forms will be available here as soon as the submission period is open.


[Translate to Englisch:] Stiftung Buchkultur und Leseförderung


[Translate to Englisch:] Deutsche Bank Stiftung

with support from


with support from

Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss