Kleist Prize

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The Kleist Prize is a German literary prize.

First epoch

The prize was first awarded in 1912 on the 101st anniversary of Heinrich von Kleist's death at the suggestion of Fritz Engel (1867–1935), editor of the Berliner Tageblatt , by the Kleist Foundation . Purpose of the foundation:

"To grant gifts of honor to aspiring and less well-off German-language poets, men and women."

59 well-known personalities from the German-speaking area, including Otto Brahm , Richard Dehmel , Fritz Engel , Maximilian Harden , Hugo von Hofmannsthal , Fritz Mauthner , Walter Rathenau , Max Reinhardt , Arthur Schnitzler , Hermann Sudermann , Theodor Wolff , signed the founding appeal .

Encouraged by Richard Dehmel, the foundation's multi-member art council, which is authorized by the statutes, decided not by a majority of votes, "rather, the final decision for one year should be made exclusively by a single shop steward." Kleistpreis is intended to support new and unusual talents. Majorities opt for the average talent that suits everyone. "Only a single person can ruthlessly advocate the extraordinary."

The Kleist Prize was the most important literary award of the Weimar Republic. The Kleist Foundation was dissolved in 1933/1934 under unsettled circumstances.

Award winners

year Award winners Award-winning work (s) Confidant
1912 Hermann Burte Wiltfeber Richard Dehmel
Reinhard Sorge The beggar, a dramatic show
1913 Hermann vinegar The hero of the forest Jakob Schaffner
Oskar Loerke Wandering
1914 Hermann vinegar The emperor's soldiers Arthur Eloesser
Fritz von Unruh Louis Ferdinand Prince of Prussia
1915 Robert Michel The houses on the Džamija Paul Wiegler
Arnold Zweig Ritual murder in Hungary
1916 Heinrich Lersch The great forge Karl Strecker
Agnes Miegel Artist
1917 Walter Hasenclever Antigone Bernhard Kellermann
1918 Leonhard Frank Man is good Heinrich Mann
Paul Zech To Heinrich von Kleist
1919 Dietzenschmidt Christopher (drama) & King Death (short story book) Franz Servaes
Kurt Heynicke The nameless face. Rhythms from time and eternity
1920 Hans Henny Jahnn Pastor Ephraim Magnus Oskar Loerke
1921 Paul Gurk Thomas Münzer Julius Bab
1922 Bertolt Brecht Drums in the night , Baal & In the thicket Herbert Ihering
1923 Wilhelm Lehmann Wine god Alfred Doblin
Robert Musil The enthusiasts
1924 Ernst Barlach The flood Fritz Stroke
1925 Carl Zuckmayer The happy vineyard Paul Fechter
1926 Alexander Lernet-Holenia Austrian Comedy , Ollapotrida & Demetrius Bernhard Diebold
Alfred Neumann The devil
1927 Gerhard Menzel Toboggan Monty Jacobs
Hans Meisel Torstenson
1928 Anna Seghers Uprising of the fishermen of St. Barbara & Grubetsch Hans Henny Jahnn
1929 Alfred chest The lost earth Wilhelm von Scholz
Eduard Reinacher The anger of the peasants
1930 Reinhard Goering Captain Scott's South Pole Expedition Ernst Heilborn
1931 Ödön from Horváth All of the dramatic poems Carl Zuckmayer
Erik Reger Union of firm hands
1932 Richard Billinger Rauhnacht Erich Bricks
Else Lasker-Schüler Poetic life's work


  • Helmut Sembdner (Ed.): The Kleist Prize 1912–1932: A Documentation. Erich Schmidt, Berlin 1968. (Reprint with corrections and additions based on Helmut Sembdner's personal copy: Kleist Archive Sembdner, Heilbronn 2015. (Heilbronner Kleist reprints))
  • Hans Joachim Kreutzer : The Kleist Prize 1912–1932 - 1985. Speech on its re-establishment. In: Kleist yearbook. 1986, pp. 11-18.

The renewed Kleist Prize

In 1985, at the annual meeting of the Heinrich von Kleist Society , which was newly founded in 1960, it was decided to award the prize again. In the renewed foundation, too, an annually appointed person of trust decides to whom the award will be awarded. Between 1994 and 2000, the prize was only awarded every other year, and has been annually since then. The prize money of 20,000 euros (as of 2019) is donated by the Deutsche Bank Cultural Foundation and the Georg von Holtzbrinck publishing group .

Award winners

year Award winners Excellent work Confidant
1985 Alexander Kluge The power of feelings Helmut Heißenbüttel
1986 Diana Kempff The hiker Joachim Kaiser
1987 Thomas Brasch Robert, me, Carnival and the others (radio play) Christa Wolf
1988 Ulrich Horstmann Günter Kunert
1989 Ernst Augustin The American dream Adolf Muschg
1990 Heiner Muller Hamlet machine Beatrice von Matt
1991 Gaston Salvatore Lessons of Darkness Hans Magnus Enzensberger
1992 Monika Marron Silent line six Marcel Reich-Ranicki
1993 Ernst Jandl Entire life's work Ulrich Weinzierl
1994 Herta Müller Heart animal Walter Hinck
1996 Hans Joachim Schädlich The cuckoo and the nightingale Ruth Klüger
1998 Dirk von Petersdorff How to proceed & time solution Lars Gustafsson
2000 Barbara Honigmann With all my love! Luc Bondy
2001 Judith Hermann Summer house, later Michael Naumann
2002 Martin Mosebach A Long Night , The Sub-Prince & The Pulcinelles' Tomb Brigitte Kronauer
2003 Albert Ostermaier Father tongue Andrea Breth
2004 Emine Sevgi Ozdamar Strange stars stare at the earth. Wedding - Pankow 1976/77 Hermann Beil
2005 Gert Jonke Strange Thing & The Sunken Cathedral Jürgen Flimm
2006 Daniel Kehlmann Me and Kaminski & Measuring the World Uwe Wittstock
2007 Wilhelm Genazino Mediocre homesickness Ulrich Matthes
2008 Max Goldt Entire work Daniel Kehlmann
2009 Arnold Stadler Once in the world. And then like that Péter Esterházy
2010 Ferdinand von Schirach crime Bernd Eilert
2011 Sibylle Lewitscharoff Blumenberg Martin Mosebach
2012 Navid Kermani Entire work Norbert Lammert
2013 Katja Lange-Müller Entire work Nike Wagner
2014 Marcel Beyer Entire work Hortensia Völckers
2015 Monika Rinck Entire work Heinrich Detering
2016 Yōko Tawada Ulrike Ottinger
2017 Ralf Rothmann Hanns Zischler
2018 Christoph Ransmayr László F. Földényi
2019 Ilma Rakusa Yōko Tawada
2020 Clemens J. Setz Daniela Strigl

Current discussion

In the understanding of the Kleist Foundation, the prize is a "gift of honor". According to the statutes of the Kleist Foundation, from 1912 onwards it should go to "aspiring and poorly well-funded German-language poets". The renewed Kleist Prize has recently been criticized for being predominantly, if not exclusively, awarded to authors who have already emerged with success. Certainly most of them deserved an award, but not the Kleist Prize.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. kleist.org ( Memento of the original from May 4, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.kleist.org
  2. Navid Kermani receives Kleist Prize 2012. In: Saarbrücker Zeitung. (Culture), August 21, 2012, p. B4.
  3. Award: Katja Lange-Müller receives Kleist Prize. In: Kölnische Rundschau. Culture, May 17, 2013, accessed May 17, 2013.
  4. Buchmarkt.de of May 12, 2014: Hortensia Völckers awards the Kleist Prize to Marcel Beyer , accessed on May 12, 2014.
  5. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, May 2, 2015, p. 13.
  6. a b orf.at: Kleist Prize goes to Christoph Ransmayr . Article dated February 14, 2018, accessed February 14, 2018.
  7. ^ Kleist Prize for Swiss writer Ilma Rakusa
  8. Kleist Prize 2020 goes to Clemens J. Setz
  9. on the age structure see http://www.kleist.org/images/kleistpreis/kleist_preis_alter_der_preistraeger.pdf