Adelbert von Chamisso Prize of the Robert Bosch Stiftung

About the Chamisso Prize

The Adelbert von Chamisso Prize is a literary prize awarded by Robert Bosch Stiftung since 1985 to non-German authors writing in the German language and is unique in the German-speaking region. Prize-winning authors have very different cultural backgrounds and came to Germany as a result of work migration, exile or studies. One thing connects them all however: the German language to which they have migrated and which has become part of themselves, their most important form of expression. This ‘linguistic turn’ reaches far beyond use in daily life. It extends to artistic and literary adaptation and makes the work by Adelbert von Chamisso Prize winners a natural part of contemporary German language literature.

The prize documents the fact that literature and language enhance understanding between different cultures – in Germany, in Europe and beyond. Chamisso Prize winners who do not live and work in Germany, like Elazar Benyoëtz and Galsan Tschinag, encourage the international use of German as an educational language through their work. Prize winners active in the German speaking region show how the culture of people who have found their new or second home in this country interacts with our own. Chamisso Prize winners are not only excellent authors and representatives of contemporary German language literature, but also have an exemplary function, especially for young people with a background of migration. We have all realized how important language is for successful integration. Without sufficient language skills, it is impossible to live and work in society.
Harald Weinrich had the great idea of convincing the Robert Bosch Stiftung of the value of establishing the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize. Since the first prizes were awarded in 1985 to Aras Ören and Rafik Schami, 46 writers from more than twenty different countries have won the award. In the 1980s, the literature honored by the prize was still called “guest worker literature” and later “migration literature”, but today it has become a natural part of contemporary German literature, and is often simply described as “Chamisso Literature”.

Since 1997, the “Honorary Endowment of the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize of Robert Bosch Stiftung” has been awarded to three people whose life work has contributed in a special way to the aims of the prize: Jirí Grusa, Imre Kertész and Harald Weinrich.

The enthusiastic reception of the prize-winners’ readings, which were encouraged and supported by the Foundation in schools, book shops and theatres in the entire German-speaking region, is evidence of the high level of interest in such literature. Another special aspect of the Adelbert von Chamisso Preis is the fact that it does not merely include an award ceremony, but also accompanying activities to encourage people to read the authors, especially in schools.


Frank Albers
Phone: +49 (0)711 46084-51
Maria Trini
Phone: +49 (0)711 46084-44