21 January 2020

Heinrich Mann Prize 2020 to Eva Horn

The Akademie der Künste is awarding its Heinrich Mann Prize to the literary scholar and essayist Eva Horn, who teaches in Vienna. The decision was made by a jury consisting of Julia Encke, Gustav Seibt, and last year's award-winner, Danilo Scholz. The €10,000 prize for essay writing will be awarded on 27 March 2020 at the Akademie building at Pariser Platz.

From the statement of the jury: “Zukunft als Katastrophe (The Future as a Catastrophe) was the title of Eva Horn's great essay on apocalyptic descriptions six years ago. Since that time, many of her texts have dealt with doomsday scenarios or 'imagining the history of the climate catastrophe'. All of these essays combine scientific history with literature and art. Horn's essay Der geheime Krieg (The Secret War) was a sensational and successful experiment with espionage and betrayal. It was based solely on literary sources, placing trust in their epistemological value: because everything is secret, narratives on what is secret are more reliable than anything else; they are 'tools of the imagination'. Like only few authors Eva Horn succeeds in finding a language that is accessible to a wide audience without forfeiting scientific precision. She never loses sight of the political perspective. Her writing is political journalism.”

Eva Horn was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1965 and studied Comparative Literature, German Studies, Romance studies, and Philosophy in Bielefeld, Paris, and Constance. She earned her PhD in 1996 with a dissertation on funeral texts in the time of Goethe. After her habilitation at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) in 2004, she was appointed to the German Department of the University of Basel in 2005 and since 2009 has been full professor for modern German literature at the Department for German Studies at the University of Vienna. In addition to a guest professorship at Columbia University in New York, she was a fellow at Hamburg's research centre “Zukünfte der Nachhaltigkeit” (Futures of Sustainability) and in 2019 founded the “Vienna Anthropocene Network”, an interdisciplinary network for researching and understanding the Anthropocene.

Publications, in addition to numerous articles in magazines and anthologies, include Trauer schreiben: Die Toten im Text der Goethezeit (1998), Literatur als Philosophie – Philosophie als Literatur (with Bettine and Christoph Menke, 2005), The Secret War: Treason, Espionage, and Modern Fiction (2013), The Future as a Catastrophe (2018), Anthropocene: Key Issues for the Humanities (with Hannes Bergthaller, 2019).

Recent recipients of the award are Danilo Scholz (2019), Christian Bommarius (2018), and Gisela von Wysocki (2017).
The award ceremony will take place on Heinrich Mann's birthday, Friday, 27 March at 7 pm at the Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz 4. The laudatory address will be held by the literary theorist Anselm Haverkamp.