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).
Robin Detje is a trained actor and has worked as a theater, film, and literary critic and as an arts editor for Die Zeit and Berliner Zeitung and as author for the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Today he writes mainly for Zeit Online. He is the author of the Frank Castorf biography Castorf – Provokation aus Prinzip (2002). As a visual artist, he founded the group bösediva with Elisa Duca in 2009, which was invited to Bangalore, Taipei, and other places with their works. As a literary translator (e.g. works by Kiran Desai, Denis Johnson, William T. Vollmann, Joshua Cohen and Brit Bennett) he was awarded the 2014 Preis der Leipziger Buchmesse and the 2017 Heinrich Maria Ledig-Rowohlt Translator's Prize. He lives in Berlin and does not believe the Internet is going to go away.
Heike Geißler lives and works as an author and lecturer in Leipzig. Her publications include the novel Rosa (2002), the short story collection Nichts, was tragisch wäre (2007), the reportage-essay novel Saisonarbeit (2014), the questionnaire and radio play Fragen für alle (2016) and mani bucate money fest (2017). She is the co-editor of the Lücken kann man lesen series and part of the George Bele performance collective. In 2016 she was a fellow at Villa Massimo.
Michael Götting is an author, journalist and curator. He is the Head of the Black Diaspora Library at Each One Teach One (EOTO) eV in Berlin. He has contributed to several publications including ZEIT Online, Tagesspiegel, and Neues Deutschland, for which he currently writes. Götting studied Modern German Literature and North American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. Following the publication of his novel Contrapunctus in 2015, he was a Writer-in-Residence at the Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the University of Toronto. He was also a co-curator of the Black perspectives festivals Black Lux and We Are Tomorrow at Ballhaus Naunynstraße, and of EOTO’s AFROLUTION literary and cultural festivals.
Dominique Haensell is a literary scholar, author and journalist and currently editor-in-chief of Missy Magazine. She studied English philology and critical theory in Berlin and London and did her PhD in 2019 at the John F. Kennedy Institute of the Freie Universität Berlin. Her monograph Making Black History: Diasporic Fiction in the Moment of Afropolitanism will be released soon. She lives in Berlin.
Verena Lueken is a writer, journalist, and editor for the arts section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Her work focuses on literature, cinema and the USA. She worked for many years as the F.A.Z. arts correspondent in New York and returns there often to report about the city and the nation. She also teaches regularly at Goethe University in Frankfurt and at Leuphana University in Lüneburg. She has published two books about New York (New York. Reportage aus einer alten Stadt, 2002, and Gebrauchsanweisung für New York, 2005, 2010, 2018) as well as the novels Alles zählt (2015) and Anderswo (2018). She was awarded the Internationale Publizistikpreis in Klagenfurt.
Annika Reich is a writer and activist. Her books have been published by Carl Hanser Verlag. Recent titles include the novels Die Nächte auf ihrer Seite (2015) and 34 Meter über dem Meer (2012), as well as a children’s book series centred on the character Lotto (2016 and 2018). Reich contributes to the 10nach8 column of ZEIT Online. In 2015, she cofounded the organization for social action WIR MACHEN DAS, acting since then as its Artistic Director. As part of her work in the organization, Reich is also in charge of Weiter Schreiben, an award-winning project dedicated to literature from zones of war and conflict.
Elisabeth Ruge is a longtime publisher, editor and literary agent. She studied English and American and Slavic Studies in Frankfurt am Main, Moscow, and the USA. In 1994, she co-founded the Berlin Verlag, from 2011 to 2013 she established Hanser Berlin, the Berlin branch of the Carl Hanser Verlag. Since 2014, she has been managing director of the Elisabeth Ruge Agentur (ERA).