30 January 2024

Akademie der Künste awards the Heinrich Mann Prize 2024 to Lena Gorelik

Akademie der Künste’s Heinrich Mann Prize 2024 goes to journalist and author Lena Gorelik. Her essayistic work has made meaningful contributions to contemporary political and literary discourse. The three-person jury was made up of Miryam Schellbach, Ingo Schulze and György Dalos. The essay writing prize, endowed with € 10,000, will be awarded on Heinrich Mann’s birthday, 27 March 2024, at the Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz. Recipients of the award in recent years were György Dalos (2023), Lothar Müller (2022) and Kathrin Passig (2021).

Lena Gorelik’s work as an author and essayist, according to the jury, is characterized by the “struggle to find the right word, the appropriate measure of writerly involvement in contemporary history” and is built on “the conviction that an author cannot exist outside of society, but only in its centre.” Whether in novels or in her writing on current political events, the author always approaches her respective topic not only with deliberation and thoughtfulness, but also with an unerring eye and a large measure of stylistic subtlety.

Short biography of the laureate
Lena Gorelik, born in Saint Petersburg in 1981, moved to Germany in 1992 with her Russian-Jewish family as a so-called “quota refugee”. After graduating from high school (Abitur), she attended the Deutsche Journalistenschule (DJS) in Munich until 2004, graduating with an additional degree in communication science, politics and sociology. That same year she published her first novel Meine weißen Nächte. In 2006 she enrolled in a programme for Eastern European Studies, graduating with a master’s degree. From 2006 to 2007 she studied politics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she learned Hebrew and Arabic in parallel. She subsequently began a doctoral project in Munich as a ZEIT Foundation scholarship holder, which she wrote on the topic of “Russians – Jews – Germans”. In addition to academic texts and novels, Lena Gorelik writes essays and feature articles for newspapers including Die Zeit and Süddeutsche Zeitung, as well as plays and radio dramas. In 2022 she accepted a poetry lectureship at the Leibniz University Hannover and curated the Literaturfestival in Stuttgart in 2023. She teaches creative writing at various universities and literature schools.

Prizes and awards
Scheffel-Preis, Bayerischer Kunstförderpreis, Ernst-Hoferichter-Preis, Förderpreis zum Friedrich-Hölderlin-Preis der Stadt Bad Homburg, Literaturpreis „Text & Sprache“, Marieluise-Fleißer-Preis, Retzhofer Dramapreis für junges Publikum

Publications (selection)
Meine weißen Nächte (2004), Hochzeit in Jerusalem (2007), Verliebt in Sankt Petersburg. Meine russische Reise (2008), Lieber Mischa ... Du bist ein Jude (2011), Sie können aber gut Deutsch! (2012), Die Listensammlerin (2013), Null bis unendlich (2015), Mehr Schwarz als Lila (2017), Wer wir sind (2021). Essays and feature articles for Süddeutsche Zeitung, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Die Zeit and Zeit Online.