Thomas Meinecke Wins 2020 Berlin Literature Prize

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The honor comes with an appointment as Freie Universität Berlin’s Visiting Professor of German Literature sponsored by the Preußische Seehandlung Foundation

No 040/2020 from Feb 25, 2020

The writer Thomas Meinecke received the 2020 Berlin Literature Prize awarded by the Preußische Seehandlung Foundation. At the award ceremony on Monday evening, Meinecke officially accepted the appointment as Freie Universität Berlin’s Visiting Professor of German Literature for the summer semester 2020, which is part of the honor. The ceremony was held in Berlin City Hall. Governing Mayor of Berlin and Chair of the Council of the Preußische Seehandlung Foundation, Michael Müller presented the award, and the president of Freie Universität, Professor Günter M. Ziegler, extended the appointment as visiting professor to the author. Barbara Vinken, a professor of general and French literary studies at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München gave the laudatory speech. The Berlin Literature Prize comes with a cash award of 30,000 euros and recognizes authors whose literary works in prose, drama, or poetry have contributed significantly to the development of contemporary German literature.

The jury explained their choice in a statement: "The author, musician, and radio DJ Thomas Meinecke, born in Hamburg in 1955, is the recipient of the Preußische Seehandlung Foundation’s 2020 Berlin Literature Prize. In selecting Meinecke, the jury commends an author who, as he says of himself, puts into writing what everybody is talking about. His novels and short stories deal with a broad range of topics ranging from current political debates to gender issues to the construction of identity. His work addresses intersexuality, transsexuality, queerness, pop culture concepts of identity, and forms of inauthenticity that have made their way into ’normal’ life and enhanced it. Meinecke brought back the discursive novel as a theoretical essay in narrative form. His texts use assemblage and sampling in smart and intelligent ways to open up theories of pop culture, while echoing classic academic modes of speech and presenting readers with a wealth of anecdotes and historical flashbacks. Meinecke has crafted a dynamic art of storytelling through well-placed cuts - a skill honed by DJs and musicians as well."

Sitting on the jury of the 2020 Berlin Literature Prize were Claudia Albert, Michael Gamper, Dr. Jutta Person, Stephan Wetzel, and Ernest Wichner.

Each year during the spring/summer semester, the award winner supervises a literary workshop for young authors, who are studying at one of Berlin’s or Brandenburg’s universities. Previous award winners/visiting professors include Herta Müller, Durs Grünbein, Ilija Trojanow, Ulrich Peltzer, Dea Loher, Sibylle Lewitscharoff, Thomas Lehr, Rainald Goetz, Lukas Bärfuss, Hans Joachim Schädlich, Olga Martynova, Feridun Zaimoglu, Ilma Rakusa, Marion Poschmann, and Clemens J. Setz.

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