Jean Améry Prize for European Essay Writing

© Bernhard Ludewig

Since 2015, the Allianz Kulturstiftung has been working with the publisher Klett-Cotta to promote the Jean Améry Prize across Europe every two years. A newly appointed international jury headed by Robert Menasse and composed of prominent authors, literary scholars and critics signals the prize's pan-European spirit.

The prize is awarded in memory of Jean Améry for outstanding achievement in the field of critically aware literary essay writing. Améry's widow Maria initiated the prize with the publisher Klett-Cotta in 1982, and it had been conferred on four authors by 1991. After Maria Améry's death, the writer Robert Menasse used his prize money from the Austrian State Prize to revive the Jean Améry Prize in 2000.
In addition to being one of the few prizes for literary essay writing in Europe, the Jean Améry Prize is with an endowment of 15,000 EUR one of the highest endowed award of its kind in the world.

In 2018, the Jean Améry Prize was awarded to the Austrian writer Karl-Markus Gauß. The 2018 jury was composed of: Gila Lustiger (Paris), Michael Krüger (Munich), Christina Weiss (former German Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Berlin), László Földényi (Budapest) and Robert Menasse (Vienna).

On 2 March 2016, the Jean Améry Prize was given to the Polish poet and essayist Adam Zagajewski at an award ceremony in Berlin. Hungarian literary scholar and jury member László Földényi delivered laudatory remarks. Also on the the 2016 jury were: Gila Lustiger (Paris), Michael Krüger (Munich), Claudio Magris (Trieste), Christina Weiss (former German Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Berlin), Robert Menasse (Vienna).

Earlier awardees were:

  • 1982 Lothar Baier
  • 1985 Barbara Sichtermann
  • 1988 Mathias Greffrath
  • 1991 Reinhard Merkel
  • 2000 Franz Schuh
  • 2002 Doron Rabinovici
  • 2004 Michael Jeismann
  • 2007 Drago Jančar
  • 2009 Imre Kertész
  • 2012 Dubravka Ugrešić
  • 2016 Adam Zagajewski