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Authors, Books, Awards

Two awards are making an important contribution to the future of the book industry: Frankfurt Young Stories and the Digital Publishing Award.
Young Stories: Winners, jury and organisers
After the award ceremony: winners, jury and organisers. © FBM/Nina Garde

The earliest writing attempts of authors who later become famous mostly haven’t been passed down to us: their owners often destroyed them because they no longer made the grade. Whether the winners of the Frankfurt Young Stories writing competition will make a name for themselves one day remains to be seen. But in any case, their early stories and poems aren’t just lying around in a drawer or on a hard drive any more – they’re out in the world. The competition jury selected five prize winners from a field of 460 applicants aged between 13 and 25. Girls and women dominated with a total of 400 entries, and triumphed in the final selection as well.

The primary goal of Frankfurt Young Stories, whose patron is Young Adult author Cornelia Funke, is not to advance writers’ careers, even though this may be one benefit of the competition. Instead, its main aim is to promote reading, by encouraging young people to engage with texts by their peers. Frankfurt Young Stories also promotes digital formats and collaboration between different art forms, and – last but not least – provides insights into the world of adolescents. What’s on their mind these days? Light-hearted summer poems and breezy love stories certainly didn’t dominate entries in 2020, the second year of the competition. Instead, many of the stories and poems depicted a sombre world featuring suicide and abuse – and of course the pandemic left its literary mark.

Each of the prize winners received 500 euros and was given the choice of participating in a mentoring programme or writing workshop. A network for young creatives was also established in conjunction with the competition, whose members regularly exchange ideas about books and their own writing. Many of this year’s applicants are keen to compete again next year – perhaps with even more impressive texts?

Frankfurt Young Stories Cover

The anthology Frankfurt Young Stories 2020 features all the short stories, poems and slam poetry that made the shortlist of the Frankfurt Young Stories writing competition in 2020. It is available from Books on Demand

Musical material
Musical material is now available not only in PDF format, but also as a mobile app – lots of helpful features make it particularly user-friendly, even for work in the rehearsal room. © Newzik/UE

Highlighting outstanding projects that help different media to manage the process of digital transformation – this is the aim of the Digital Publishing Award. The prize is awarded every year as part of the Frankfurter Buchmesse. A distinguished jury made up of individuals from the worlds of business and culture, all of whom are helping to shape the process of digital transformation, selects the winning entries in five different categories:

Holger Heimann is a literary critic and works for various newspapers and broadcasters. He lives in Berlin.

Product/Business model: this category rewards particularly innovative products or business models created by publishing houses or similar organisations. Areas of innovation range from B2B to B2C, from websites/web services to new payment models, and from media archives, apps, e-books and podcasts to online events.

Process/Technology recognises new processes or technologies which are changing the way the publishing industry works, whether in editing, proof­reading, sales, marketing or production: these technologies include AI solutions, text-to-speech, digital newsrooms in editorial departments and many more.

Personality/Digital Leader(ship) rewards individuals who have done important work in the field of digital publishing – through excellent change management in the context of digital transformation, for example, or by opening up the digital arena for the entire publishing industry.

Start-up/Founders recognises new players on the publishing market whose ideas are stimulating the entire industry. This category highlights particularly innovative, bold business ideas, even those which may not yet be market-ready. The Special Prize (which focuses on digital sustainability and ecology) is awarded to concepts or initiatives that aim to promote sustainability, ecology and/or a better work-life balance – goals which serve the common good and which go far beyond plastic-free book covers.

The five winners of the Digital Publishing Award 2020 are: Universal Edition for UE Now, which prepares digital sheet music in real time, enabling collaborative music-making and work on notation for the first time.

The Deutsche Archäologische Institut for the DAI Journal Viewer, a digital journal which links articles with research data from various information resources.

Tobias Ott of Pagina, who, as one of the first experts in XML, is making this key technology available to the whole field of digital publishing, and who has played an important role in promoting the digitalisation of publishing.
The start-up scoolio, whose digital app platform helps organise school pupils’ days in a fun way, and also connects them to businesses and universities.

Carlsen Verlag’s New Work Initiative, which has helped make its collaborations much more open, transparent and flexible, and enhanced its attractiveness as an employer.



From 2021, the prize will be renamed the ‘dpr award’. It will be organised, as before, by the trade magazine Digital Publishing Report.

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