About the Peace Prize
Since 1950, the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels has been awarding the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. With the debates and discussions that the prize and its winners have triggered, it became one of the country's most important cultural prizes.
A peace prize, endowed and awarded by worthy people – and who would be more worthy than those who open up access to the works of the Spirit for us all? – is the civil crown of humanity. (Carlo Schmid)
Since 1950, the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, the professional organisation of publishers and booksellers in the Federal Republic of Germany, has been awarding the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. It is linked with a prize money of 25,000 euros, which is raised by the publishers and booksellers. The Peace Prize impressively demonstrates the book trade's commitment to serving international understanding between nations and cultures. Never before has an idea that has been developed and practiced by a profession achieved such worldwide recognition.
The prize is traditionally awarded on the Sunday of the Frankfurt Book Fair, which usually takes place in October. With the German Book Prize, which is awarded on the day before the begin of Book Fair, it sends a signal beyond the borders of Germany that literature and knowledge are of special significance for our society.
We see this prize as a letter offering us honorary citizenship in the Res publica litteraria, a homeland that knows no national borders. (Aleida and Jan Assmann)
As a jury the Board of Trustees has the task of selecting the Peace Prize winner. It is free and independent in its decision and is guided by the proposals that are submitted. The proposals come from all parts of society, because every citizen has the opportunity to nominate candidates with a statement of reasons for their choice.
The Board of Trustees consists of three members from the Executive Board of the Börsenverein and six additional members. The Executive Board appoints the President and two other members. The other six members are elected by the Executive Board for three years. They have the possibility to extend for additional three years. These members do not need to be members of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association.
When I heard about this prize, one after the other the following came to my mind : 1. the tie problem, 2. I promised myself a) not to read what Kant wrote about eternal peace, no, let us rather say: not to read it again, and b), in case I dared to include the word "Keule"in the speech. (Péter Esterházy)
The award ceremony traditionally takes place during the Frankfurt Book Fair, which is held in autumn (usually in October). The Peace Prize is presented during a ceremony in Frankfurt's St. Pauls Church, the place where the Frankfurt National Assembly (1848) was held, which was of historical significance for Germany's democratic development.
After the Second World War, the church, destroyed down to its walls, was quickly rebuilt to serve as the seat of the Bundesrat, as Frankfurt hoped to become the capital of the western part of Germany. After Bonn was chosen, the church was used in 1949 and 1950 as an exhibition hall for the Frankfurt Book Fair. Since then, it has served as a venue for nationally important events and award ceremonies.
The Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels invites important personalities from Germany and abroad to attend the Peace Prize ceremony. Nevertheless, an attempt is made to allow interested citizens to take part, which is unfortunately only possible to a very limited extent due to the space available. Alternatively, the Peace Prize can be followed on television and radio. The ceremony is broadcast live by ARD and ZDF, alternating annually.