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The jury was nominated by an independent selection committee consisting of: Klaus-Dieter Lehmann (president of the Goethe-Institut), Joachim Sartorius (poet, translator and former director of the Berliner Festspiele), Rainer Traube (director of the arts desk, Deutsche Welle), Christina Weiss (publicist, professor, chair of the Verein der Freunde der Nationalgalerie), Jan Szlovak (chair of the executive board of Stiftung Elementarteilchen).
(literary critic / author)
Verena Auffermann, born in 1944, studied art history after training in the book trade. Since then, she has worked as a literary critic, editor and arts correspondent for example for Die Zeit, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Deutschlandradio Kultur and DeutschlandRadio and as an author. Her books include Nelke und Caruso. Über Hunde. Eine Romanze and Das geöffnete Kleid. Von Giorgione zu Tiepolo. In 2009, Auffermann, Gunhild Kübler, Ursula März and Elke Schmitter published the literary anthology Leidenschaften. 99 Autorinnen der Weltliteratur. In 2016, the series Leben in Bildern included her “Henry James.” In addition to hosting and participating in radio and television discussions, Verena Auffermann taught from 1997-2002 as a lecturer in the further education program on book and media practices at Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt am Main. Between 1992 and 1996 she was a member of the jury of the Klagenfurt Ingeborg-Bachmann-Preis competition and from 2010 and 2012 the jury chair for the Preis der Leipziger Buchmesse.
Jens Bisky, born in Leipzig in 1966, studied German and cultural studies at Humboldt-Universität Berlin. In 1999, he earned his doctorate with a study on architectural aesthetics in Goethe’s era. He wrote for the Berliner Zeitung and has been an editor for the arts pages of the Süddeutsche Zeitung since 2001. Bisky has published a number of books, including Geboren am 13. August – Der Sozialismus und ich (2004), Kleist. Eine Biographie (2007) and Unser König: Friedrich der Große und seine Zeit – ein Lesebuch (2011).
Frank Heibert, born in Essen in 1960, studied Romance and German languages in Berlin, Rome and Paris, earning his doctorate on paronomasia and translation. He has worked since 1983 as a literary and theatre translator from English, French, Italian and Portuguese (works by Don DeLillo, Richard Ford, William Faulkner, George Saunders, Boris Vian, Yasmina Reza and many others). From 1990 until 1995 he and Thomas Brovot managed the zebra literaturverlag. He works as a freelance editor, literary critic, host of literary events and lecturer on translation at home and abroad and is also a novelist (Kombizangen, 2006) and jazz vocalist. He received the Heinrich Maria Ledig-Rowohlt Translator's Prize for his complete works as a translator in 2012, was the Wilhelm August von Schlegel guest professor for poetry translation during the 2015-2016 winter semester at the Freie Universität Berlin and received the 2016 Helmut Braem Translator’s Award.
Jens Hillje, born in 1968, grew up in Milan, Munich and Landshut. After studying applied cultural sciences in Perugia, Hildesheim and Berlin, he has worked as an actor, author and director in the independent theatre scene since 1990. In 1996, he and director Thomas Ostermeier founded the Baracke at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, which received the Theatre of the Year award of the professional journal Theater heute under his direction in 1998. It was during this period that he developed the still-successful Streitraum format. From 1999 until 2009, Jens Hillje was one of the artistic directors and chief dramaturge of the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz, where he founded the Festival Internationale Neue Dramatik (F.I.N.D). The directors he has collaborated with as dramaturge include Falk Richter, Barbara Frey, Luk Perceval, Rafael Sanchez, Yael Ronen and Sebastian Nübling. In 2010, together with Nurkan Erpulat, he developed the play Verrücktes Blut (Ballhaus Naunynstraße, Ruhrtriennale), which was chosen Play of the Year 2011 by the professional journal Theater heute. That same year, Jens Hillje curated the Intransit Performing Arts Festival at Haus der Kulturen der Welt as artistic director. Since the 2013-2014 season, he has been co-director of the Maxim Gorki Theater and shares the artistic direction of the Gorki with Shermin Langhoff. The two received the 2016 Berlin Theatrical Award from the Stiftung Preußische Seehandlung and were named Theatre of the Year in 2014 and 2016.
Michael Krüger, born in 1943 in the state of Saxony-Anhalt and raised in Berlin, lives in Munich today. For many years, he was the executive publisher at Carl Hanser Verlag in Munich, and for over three decades has been the editor of the journal Akzente, the book series Edition Akzente, and the series Lyrik Kabinett. Since the 1970s, his own published work has included novels, stories, essays, and poetry, for which he has received the Peter-Huchel-Preis, the Mörike-Preis, the Joseph-Breitbach-Preis, and the Prix Médicis étranger, among other awards. He is currently the president of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts and in spring 2015 will be a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.
Marko Martin, born in 1970, left East Germany in May 1989 for political reasons. He studied German, history, and political science at the Technische Universität and Freie Universität in Berlin. After a long residence in Paris, Martin returned to Berlin, where he lives when not traveling as a reporter. As a journalist, he has contributed most notably to Die Welt, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Deutschlandradio, Jüdische Allgemeine, and Internationale Politik. His most recent literary work includes the essay collections Kosmos Tel Aviv (2012) and Treffpunkt '89 (2014), as well as the volumes of stories Schlafende Hunde (2009) and Die Nacht von San Salvador (2013), both published by Die Andere Bibliothek.
Sabine Scholl, born in 1959, studied German, history, and drama in Vienna and wrote her doctoral dissertation on Unica Zürn. From 1988 to 1990, she was a lecturer at the University of Aveiro, Portugal. She made her literary debut in 1992 with Fette Rosen. She has taught at universities in Chicago, New York, and Nagoya and conceived the “Sprachkunst” course of study at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, where she held a professorship from 2009 to 2012. She is currently on the faculty at the Literaturinstitut Leipzig and Berlin University of the Arts, and directs the ERAschreibkurse (writing courses) in Berlin. She has published novels, essays, audio dramas, and texts on art, and additionally writes about the cultures of the Portuguese-speaking world, the US and Latin America, Japan, and Eastern Europe. Sabine Scholl served as a juror for the 1996 Ingeborg-Bachmann-Preis. Most recently, she has published the novel Wir sind die Früchte des Zorns (2013) and Nicht ganz dicht: Zu transnationalen Literaturen (2015). She has been honored with numerous awards and grants and is a member of the Grazer Autorenversammlung and the literary advisory committee of Fiktion e.V.