13. March 2024

Wortmeldungen Literaturpreis 2024

Frank Witzel receives the 7th WORTMELDUNGEN Ulrike Crespo Literature Prize for critical short texts!

In his essay The possibility of a Micky Mouse`, Frank Witzel deals with loss and farewell as a basic condition of our existence. He reflects on how we personally and socially deal with farewell and grief - and on the fundamental importance of writing and artistic work as a way of visualising and coping with them.

For this, Frank Witzel has been awarded the 7th WORTMELDUNGEN Ulrike Crespo Literature Prize for critical short texts by the jury. The prize will be awarded on 21 June at the Kammerspiele theatre in Frankfurt.

The prize is awarded annually by the Crespo Foundation. It is endowed with 35,000 euros and honours outstanding literary short texts that deal with current socio-political issues.

The jury's statement

"Where societies are becoming more and more polarised and demand clear cuts from us, literature has a vital function. Writing, as illuminated by Frank Witzel's essay 'The Possibility of a Mickey Mouse', becomes a sensorium for all the individual fates that are overlooked, the accepted and unseen losses of life. With recurring self-doubt, but with narrative aplomb, Witzel uncovers the ethical core of the 'involuntary farewell' layer by layer. It is all around us, millions of times over, for example wherever there is talk of flight, of migration, which in turn turns into statistics. This text teaches us what farewells do to people, how we can approach them without trivialising them."


Frank Witzel -Jessica Schaefer

About the author

Frank Witzel (*1955) is a writer. He writes poetry, prose and radio plays and has published more than a dozen books since his poetry debut in 1978, including the novels "Bluemoon Baby" (2001), "Vondenloh" (2008) and "Die Erfindung der Roten Armee Fraktion durch einen manisch-depressiven Teenager im Sommer 1969" (Matthes & Seitz Berlin, 2015), for which he received the 2015 German Book Prize. In 2017, he held the Friederich Endowed Professorship at the Offenbach University of Art and Design as well as poetry lectureships in Heidelberg, Tübingen and Paderborn between 2017 and 2021. He was awarded the Erich Fried Prize in 2021. His most recent book was "Die fernen Orte des Versagens" (Matthes & Seitz Berlin, 2023). Frank Witzel lives in Offenbach and Berlin.


The WORTMELDUNGEN-Literaturpreis 2024 is a program of the Crespo Foundation in cooperation with the Literaturhaus Frankfurt, Schauspiel Frankfurt and Verbrecher Verlag. Presented by hr2-kultur, Der Freitag, 54books and Poesierausch.