The Board of Trustees of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade has chosen the German journalist and author Carolin Emcke to be the recipient of this year’s Peace Prize. The announcement was made by Heinrich Riethmüller, Chairman of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, at the association’s general meeting in Leipzig. The award ceremony will take place on the final day of the Frankfurt Book Fair, Sunday, 23rd October 2016, at the Church of Saint Paul. The ceremony will broadcast live on German public television. The Peace Prize has been awarded since 1950 and is endowed with a sum of €25,000.
The Board of Trustees issued the following statement with regard to its selection: “The German Publishers and Booksellers Association awards the 2016 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade to Carolin Emcke. In doing so, the association and its members have chosen to honour a journalist and author whose books, articles and speeches have made a significant contribution to social dialogue and peace. The work of Carolin Emcke pays particular attention to those moments, situations and issues in which discussions threaten to break down and communication seems no longer possible. In her highly personal and vulnerable manner, she regularly places herself in perilous living situations in order to illustrate – especially in her essays and reports from war zones – how violence, hatred and speechlessness can change people. She then uses analytical empathy to call on everyone involved to find their way back to understanding and exchange. Carolin Emcke’s work has thus become a role model for social conduct and action in an era in which political, religious and cultural conflicts often leave no room for dialogue. She proves that communication is indeed possible, and her work reminds us that we must all strive to achieve this goal as well”.
Carolin Emcke was born on August 18th, 1967 in Mülheim an der Ruhr. Today, she lives and works as a freelance journalist and author in Berlin. Starting in 1987, she studied philosophy, politics and history in London, Frankfurt am Main and Harvard University. Her doctoral thesis titled “Kollektive Identitäten. Sozialphilosophische Grundlagen” (Eng. “Collective Identities. Social-Philosophical Foundations”) was published by Campus Verlag in 2000.
From 1998 to 2006, Carolin Emcke worked as a journalist at Germany’s DER SPIEGEL news magazine. Starting in 1999, she travelled as a foreign editor to several war-torn areas across the globe, including Kosovo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and the Gaza Strip. In 2004, many of the letters she had written to her friends between 1999 and 2003 were compiled to form her first book “Von den Kriegen – Briefe an Freunde” published by S. Fischer Verlag (“Echoes of Violence – Letters from a War Reporter” published by Princeton University Press).
From 2003 to 2004, Carolin Emcke was a Visiting Lecturer at Yale University, where she lectured on “Theories of Violence”, among others. In 2004, she began curating a discussion series called “Streitraum” (“Room for Argument”) at Berlin’s Schaubühne theatre, a monthly event she continues to host to this day. From 2007 to 2014, she worked as a freelance author for the German weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT, for which she published several essays and reportages from Iraq, Haiti and the Gaza Strip. Since October 2014, she has been writing a weekly column in the weekend edition of Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Carolin Emcke is the recipient of several awards, including the Lessing Prize of the Free State of Saxony (2015), the Johann Heinrich Merck Prize for Literary Criticism and Essay Writing (2014) and the Theodor Wolff Prize (2008). She was named Germany’s Journalist of the Year in 2010. In October 2016, a collection of her essays examining racism, fanaticism and contempt for democracy will be published under the name “Gegen den Hass” (Eng. “Against Hatred”).
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Leipzig / Frankfurt am Main, 24th June 2016
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