A judge alone decides on the winner. Frank-Walter Steinmeier chose Christoph Ransmayr, in the work of which he places particular emphasis on the end.

Berlin (dpa) – Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has awarded the 2020 Ludwig Börne Prize to Austrian writer and essayist Christoph Ransmayr.

“They take us prisoners – then set us free as new and different seers,” said Steinmeier, according to the manuscript of the speech about the 67-year-old man, who wrote novels such as “The Last World” (1988) and “Morbus Kitahara” (1995).

Steinmeier was not only the laudator of Bellevue Palace, but he himself had already chosen the winner of the Ludwig Börne Prize as judge. A judge appointed by the board of directors of the Ludwig Börne Foundation based in Frankfurt decides on the winner under his sole responsibility.

The prize, endowed with 20,000 euros, commemorates the Jewish writer and essayist Ludwig Börne (1786-1837), who usually honors German-speaking authors every year. In recent years the award has gone to Hans-Magnus Enzensberger, Marcel Reich-Ranicki, Joachim Gauck and more recently to Eva Menasse in 2019. The current award ceremony was scheduled for May 2020 at the Paulskirche in Frankfurt, but has been postponed due to the pandemic.

“Ransmayr’s speeches and reports are characterized by precise observation of the world and a deep humanity. In times of disagreement and demarcation, he defends the end emphatically and enlightening, ”Steinmeier had justified his decision for Ransmayr according to the Ludwig Börne Foundation. “Neither nation, nor denomination, nor class, nor sex count for him, but only the equality of persons and the secrecy of existence.