Lutz Seiler © Jürgen Bauer / Suhrkamp Verlag


Lutz Seiler wins the German Book Prize 2014 for his novel “Kruso”

The Börsenverein honours the year’s best German-language novel / Award ceremony held before 300 guests at the Frankfurt Römer

The winner of the German Book Prize 2014 is Lutz Seiler for his novel “Kruso” (Suhrkamp).


Statement from the jury:

“Lutz Seiler employs lyrical, sensual language with a hint of magic to describe the summer of 1989 on the island of Hiddensee – a “gateway to evanescence”. The island was a gathering place for eccentrics, mavericks, freedom seekers, individuals looking to flee the GDR. One can read this compelling Robinsonade involving the eponymous Kruso and the young dishwasher Edgar as an eloquent tale of both a personal and historic shipwreck – and as a poet’s coming of age novel. The text develops its own unique sense of urgency and, if nothing else, serves as a requiem for the refugees who lost their lives while attempting to escape across the Baltic Sea. Lutz Seiler’s first novel impresses with its thoroughly distinct poetic language, its sensual intensity and its worldliness.“


Jury members for the German Book Prize 2014 include: Jens Bisky (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Katrin Hillgruber (independent critic), Frithjof Klepp (Buchhandlung ocelot, Berlin), Susanne Link (Buchhandlung Stephanus, Trier), Manfred Papst (NZZ am Sonntag), Wiebke Porombka (independent critic) and Annemarie Stoltenberg (NDR Kultur). 

“Writing and reading are intimate endeavours, and authors are not known for seeking out the spotlight in the same way that actors do. When we award a prize of this nature, we begin to take this into consideration”, said Heinrich Riethmüller, head of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, in his address at the award ceremony. “The novel selection process is a way of staging literature, but this is the only way to generate the kind of public attention that literature needs in order to make a big enough impression alongside film, music and major cultural events. The idea being that literature should not be something that takes place behind closed doors, but rather something that is part of the public discourse.” 

Lutz Seiler prevailed against Thomas Hettche (Pfaueninsel, Kiepenheuer & Witsch), Angelika Klüssendorf (April, Kiepenheuer & Witsch), Gertrud Leutenegger (Panischer Frühling, Suhrkamp), Thomas Melle: (3000 Euro, Rowohlt.Berlin), and Heinrich Steinfest (Der Allesforscher, Piper).  

He will receive 25,000 euros in prize winnings; the five finalists will each receive 2,500 euros. The winner was determined in several selection stages. The seven members of the jury reviewed a total of 176 titles published between October 2013 and 10 September 2014. A longlist of 20 titles was then compiled from these novels. From this list, the jurors selected six titles for the shortlist. 

The Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels Stiftung – the Foundation of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association – awarded the German Book Prize 2014 to the best German-language title 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. Additional partners include the Frankfurt Book Fair, Paschen & Companie and the city of Frankfurt am Main. The Deutsche Welle broadcasting network serves as a media partner of the German Book Prize both at home and abroad. 

Exclusive English translations of excerpts from the six titles selected for the shortlist and an English-language dossier for each shortlisted book and author are available at

The German Book Prize is on Facebook. You’ll find information, news and stories about the German Book Prize at Additional information about the winner and his appearances during the Frankfurt Book Fair can be found at  

Frankfurt am Main, 6 October 2014  

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