German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


German Prize for Nature Writing

Annual scholarship for a stay of a writer at Vilm

In 2019, the publishing house Matthes & Seitz Berlin will again donate the German Prize for Nature Writing, endowed with 10,000 €, which is awarded annually to a selected German-language author. Part of the prize is a six-week writing stay on the island of Vilm at the International Academy for Nature Conservation of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, which is donated by the Federal Agency. During her or his stay, the prizewinner will use the inspiring nature and beauty of the island for her or his own work and hold public readings on Vilm and Rügen to get into conversation with readers.

Recipients 2019

Logo German Prize for Nature Writing

For the third time, the publishing house Matthes & Seitz Berlin and the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) jointly award the German Prize for Nature Writing. This year's award goes to Daniela Danz and Martina Maria Kieninger, two prizewinners whose contributions are quite different.

The award ceremony took place on 30 August 2019 in the Elias-Kuppelsaal in Berlin with a laudatory speech by the author and journalist Jan Volker Röhnert.

"wildernis" is the name of Daniela Danz's three-part, strictly constructed cycle. "wildernis" - that was the rough area, synonym of loneliness, that means to leave someone to his fate in Dutch and in English it means wildness, wilderness, licentiousness and passion. The name is Daniela Danz's program. Her descriptions of the abandoned edges of the world in the middle of Europe, in images from the animal, plant and mineral realms, ask what happens when people perish from their progress.

In her text "Ofnvogl/Goschnhobl" Martina Maria Kieninger approaches nature writing as a (double being from) natural scientist / chemist and author: in a skilful setting of black humour and scientific insights she poses the question of man's nature and his bestial part in the recent National Socialist past. In doing so, she explores an aspect / a field of knowledge of nature poetry - the question of human nature - that is ultimately reduced in the hair-raising narratives of Identitarian Movements to a landscape-influenced attachment to the homeland.

Recipients 2018

The recipients of the 2018 scholarship are Sabine Scho and Christian Lehnert, who have already received several awards for their works.
"Sabine Scho wants to 'interfere' with her artistic productions in the social discourses about the state of our natural environment and about the connections of our human nature to that of other living beings," said the jury's statement. "In addition, in continuation of the traditions of nature writing, she visits natural spaces herself for in-depth explorations, for example in Brazil or South Africa. With her repeatedly experimental artistic projects, she stands for a rare development of contemporary nature poetry in German-speaking countries".
In Christian Lehnert's poems, the jury pays particular tribute to the fact that "nature is more than just an object of perception and poetic processing. [...] The conciseness and evocative power of the individual nature pictures impresses here just as much as the sovereign use of the Odenform, with which the manifold is captured, the incomprehensible made tangible".

The award ceremony took place on 31 August 2018 in the Elias Kuppelsaal in Berlin.

Nature Writing

The prize-winning literary tradition is a form of prose or poetry that focuses on animate and inanimate nature. While nature writing has been firmly established in the English-speaking world since the 18th and 19th centuries, this genre has become increasingly popular in German-speaking countries since the descriptions of nature in Romanticism.
With its series Naturkunden in particular, Matthes & Seitz Berlin promotes cultural-historical and literary approaches to the experience of nature and enthusiasm for nature.

Aim of the awarding of the Writers' Prize

The awarding of the Writers' Prize contributes both to establishing Nature Writing more strongly in German-speaking countries and to attracting more public attention to the topics of nature and nature conservation.With its means and its linguistic and aesthetic forms of expression, literature can appeal to people and sensitise them to nature and its protection.


Last Change: 13/01/2020