9 January 2017

Heinrich-Mann-Preis, 2017
Awarded to Gisela von Wysocki

This year, the Akademie der Künste’s Heinrich-Mann-Preis is being awarded to Gisela von Wysocki, an essayist, novelist, radio play and theatre author, as well as critic in Berlin. She was selected by the jurors Friedrich Dieckmann, Matthias Weichelt and Gunnar Decker (last year’s prizewinner). The prize for essay writing, endowed with € 8,000, will be awarded on 28 March at the Akademie building on Pariser Platz.

Excerpt from the jury’s statement on its decision: “Gisela von Wysocki has been one of the important voices working in the field of essays and culturally critical publications for many decades. Using literary language that always starts out from and evokes tangible and sensual experiences, she has undertaken and continues to undertake explorations that fondly shift into focus ‘the complicated cultural condition of femininity’ (von Wysocki, Weiblichkeit und Modernität). (…) In two newer books the author has succeeded in making the poetically illuminated moments in life into something large-scale, in which fictional and autobiographical aspects flow into one another. The books are titled Wir machen Musik and Wiesengrund, and they light up both the senses and the mind.”

Gisela von Wysocki was born in Berlin. She studied musicology in Berlin and Vienna, as well as philosophy with Theodor W. Adorno. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on the Austrian poet Peter Altenberg and began her career as an essayist, dealing mainly with the outsiders of literary modernism. Her essay collection Die Fröste der Freiheit (1981), among other works on Marieluise Fleißer, Sylvia Plath, Unica Zürn and Leni Riefenstahl, became a cult book of the 1980s. She has shown the extraordinary breadth and versatility of her writing in numerous essays, plays, radio plays, literary criticism, and most recently in two novels. Gisela von Wysocki lives in Berlin.

Her book publications include: Die Fröste der Freiheit (1981), Weiblichkeit und Modernität. Über Virginia Woolf (1982), Auf Schwarzmärkten. Prose poems and photography (1983), Fremde Bühnen. Mitteilungen über das menschliche Gesicht (1995), Wir machen Musik. Geschichte einer Suggestion (2010), Wiesengrund. A novel (2016).

Prizewinners in recent years include Gunnar Decker (2016), Adam Zagajewski (2015), Robert Schindel (2014) and Robert Menasse (2013). This year’s award ceremony will take place on Tuesday, 28 March 2017, 7 pm, at the Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz 4.