Call for papers: German Prize for Nature Writing 2023

Authors can submit their writing until 30 April 2023

in einem dunklen Gehölz fällt Licht auf einen alten abgebrochenen BaumClick to enlarge
Prize recognises authors whose literary work focuses on nature
Source: Gabriela Torres Ruiz

The publishing house Matthes & Seitz Berlin is once again awarding the German Prize for Nature Writing in cooperation with the German Environment Agency and the Stiftung Kunst und Natur. The competition is under the patronage of President Dirk Messner of the German Environment Agency. Authors’ entries will be accepted until 30 April 2023.

The German Prize for Nature Writing honours authors whose literary work is dedicated to nature. The annual prize ties in with the literary tradition of nature writing, which is particularly strong in USA and Great Britain, where authors deal with the perception of nature, with the practical interaction with nature, with reflections on the relationship between nature and culture and with the history of the human appropriation of nature. Essays as well as lyrical and epic writing in all genres are considered.

The exploration of 'nature' includes the dialectics of external and internal nature as well as the dissolution of the boundaries between culture and nature, but also the possibilities or problems of protecting natural phenomena and natural events. Nature writing is not about nature as such, but rather about how people perceive, experience and explore it.

Call for papers

Funding is awarded to German authors or authors who write in German and have published at least one independent literary work or one text in a literary magazine (no self-publishing or books on demand; in the case of plays, radio plays, etc., proof of first performance). The submitted texts should be previously unpublished (until the end of the year of the call).

Entries must be accompanied by the following:

  • A piece of prose (story, beginning of a novel) of 30-50 standard pages,
    or 10 poems, or an essay of at least 10 standard pages
  • A maximum one-page exposé
  • Author's bio-bibliography

Entries must be addressed to dpnw [at] matthes-seitz-berlin [dot] de in digital form by 30 April 2023.

This year’s prize is endowed with €10,000. The award ceremony will take place during the ilb | international literature festival berlin I in Berlin. Claudia Roth, Minister of State for Culture and Media, will deliver the message of greeting.

The German Environment Agency and the Stiftung Kunst und Natur in Bad Heilbrunn, Bavaria, contribute to the prize money. In addition, the Stiftung Kunst und Natur, together with the Bayerische Akademie des Schreibens, invites the prizewinner to spend six weeks writing on the premises of its extensive nature grounds in the Bavarian Forealps. Stiftung Kunst und Natur will also award two grants among the applicants to participate in its international Nature Writing Seminar on 4-8 October 2023.


This year’s jury is made up of the literary scholar and author Ludwig Fischer, literary mediator Brigitte Labs-Ehlert, literary critic and author Tobias Lehmkuhl, literary scholar and cultural studies expert Steffen Richter, as well as French author and translator Cécile Wajsbrot.

Umweltbundesamt Headquarters

Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau

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