29 January 2021

Heinrich Mann Prize 2021 to Kathrin Passig

The Akademie der Künste is awarding its Heinrich Mann Prize to the non-fiction author, essayist, journalist and translator Kathrin Passig, who lives in Berlin. The decision was made by a jury consisting of Ekkehard Knörer, Gustav Seibt and last year’s award-winner, Eva Horn. It is still to be announced in what form the €10,000 prize for essay writing can be awarded this year on 27 March 2021 – the 150th birthday of Heinrich Mann. This year there will be a double award ceremony, as last year’s winner Eva Horn has not yet received the award due to the pandemic.

From the statement of the jury: “Kathrin Passig is one of the most important and accurate diagnosticians of the present day. With a light touch, a crystal-clear style and an abundance of expertise, she spans an arc from digital media to the sensitivities they trigger, from unsolved human mysteries to the pitfalls of technology, from network communities to the beauty of procrastination. Her texts are characterised by an equally sharp and level-headed view of whatever “next big thing” is currently causing a stir. She explains things with casual wit, but never without giving us a piece of her mind.”

Kathrin Passig, born in Deggendorf in 1970, now lives in Berlin and is considered to be a leading thinker of the digital age. In 2002 she co-founded the Zentrale Intelligenz Agentur in Berlin. With her literary debut, the short story Sie befinden sich hier, she won the 2006 Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in Klagenfurt. Together with several hundred authors, she posts on the blog Techniktagebuch (techniktagebuch.tumblr.com), reporting on everyday technologies and the changes they bring about. In 2016 she received the Johann Heinrich Merck Prize for literary criticism and essay writing. The blogs Riesenmaschine and Techniktagebuch were awarded the Grimme Online Award.

Publications include: Handbuch für Zeitreisende. Von den Dinosauriern bis zum Fall der Mauer (together with Aleks Scholz, 2020), Außen WLAN-Symbole, innen Enttäuschung (seventh book edition of Techniktagebuch, together with many co-authors, 2020), Strom und Vorurteil: 52 weitgehend unkritische Kolumnen (2020), Vielleicht ist das neu und erfreulich. Technik. Literatur. Kritik (2019), Weniger schlecht programmieren (together with Johannes Jander, 2013), Standardsituationen der Technologiekritik (2013), Internet. Segen oder Fluch (together with Sascha Lobo, 2012), Das neue Lexikon des Unwissens (together with Aleks Scholz and Kai Schreiber, 2011), Verirren – Eine Anleitung für Anfänger und Fortgeschrittene (together with Aleks Scholz, 2010), Dinge geregelt kriegen – ohne einen Funken Selbstdisziplin (together with Sascha Lobo, 2008), Lexikon des Unwissens – Worauf es bisher keine Antwort gibt (together with Aleks Scholz, 2007). More at kathrin.passig.de.

Recent recipients of the award are Eva Horn (2020), Danilo Scholz (2019) and Christian Bommarius (2018).