Jens Petersen won Bachmann Prize

The winner of the Bachmann Prize 2009 is Jens Petersen. Ralf Bönt won the Kelag Prize, the 3sat Prize went to Gregor Sander, and the Willner Prize to Katharina Born. The audience chose Karsten Krampitz.               

Video recording of the award ceremony


Petersen beat Bönt with 5 votes to 2

In a tie, Jens Petersen from Switzerland beat Ralf Bönt with 5 votes to 2. The main prize of the 33rd “Festival of German-Language Literature” is worth 25,000 euros and was donated by the Carinthian provincial capital.

“Kitsch or art” – this question has been resolved once and for all: after a second round of voting, the jury nominated Jens Petersen from Switzerland for the main prize for his text “Bis dass der Tod” (Until death).

Kulturreferent Albert Gunzer, Jens Petersen, Bgm. Christian Scheider (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)Kulturreferent Albert Gunzer, Jens Petersen, Bgm. Christian Scheider (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)
Klagenfurt’s mayor Christian Scheider presented the main prize, which was donated by the city, to winner Jens Petersen. Left in the picture cultural councillor Albert Gunzer.


In his honorific speech, Burkhard Spinnen, who suggested the text, said he was seized by panic when he first read the text because someone else may already have nominated it. Spinnen said he was “so glad” that with his uncharacteristically “fast decision” in favour of this text, “intuitive Spinnen” triumphed over “intellectual Spinnen”.

Mehr über den Autor Jens Petersen

Bönt received the “Kelag Prize” for “Fotoeffekt”

After a second round of voting, Ralf Bönt triumphed over Gregor Sander. The winner of the Kelag Prize, worth 10,000 euros, was invited by Meike Feßmann.

Ralf Bönt, Harald Kogler (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)Ralf Bönt, Harald Kogler (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)
Harald Kogler presented the Kelag Prize to winning author Ralf Bönt.

Feßmann defended her choice as follows: “Ralf Bönt competently talks about the thirst for knowledge as the driving force for worldly experience and about the fact that the truly important things in life cannot be had without risk. ‘Fotoeffekt’ has everything I want from literature: suspenseful material, lovingly portrayed characters, empathy and wisdom.”

3sat Prize for “Winterfisch” by Gregor Sander

In a run-off against Andreas Schäfer, Gregor Sander’s “Winterfisch” ultimately received the 3sat Prize. .

Gregor Sander, Margit Czöppan (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)Gregor Sander, Margit Czöppan (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)
3sat’s chief editor Margit Czöppan presented the broadcasting service’s certificate and cheque to Gregor Sander.

Sander was invited to Klagenfurt by Hildegard E. Keller, who defended her choice thus: “I am voting for Gregor Sander, because for me, ‘Winterfisch’ tells the (hi)story of people with extremely skilful simplicity, and is so able to touch us. The finest of fish from the waters of German-German history.”

“Ernst Willner Prize” for Katharina Born

Finally, Katharina Born came to be the winner of the Ernst Willner Prize after a long and drawn-out process – Christiane Neudecker and Andreas Schäfer left empty-handed.

Katharina Born, Willy Haslitzer (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)Katharina Born, Willy Haslitzer (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)
ORF regional director Willy Haslitzer was happy for Katherina Born to take home the Ernst-Willner Prize.

Born was suggested by Ijoma Mangold, whose vote went to Ralf Bönt for the Bachmann Prize. His defence of Born: “I am voting for a text that talks about the power and violence of a generation that had set out to stop repressive power in its tracks – for Katharina Born’s Fifty-Fifty.”

The audience voted for Krampitz

This year, the Audience rize was awarded for the eighth time. A clear majority of the audience voted in favour of the text by Karsten Krampitz. The prize worth 7,000 euros was donated by Hypo Group Alpe Adria.

Karsten Krampitz, Harald Kogler (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)Karsten Krampitz, Harald Kogler (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)
The Audience Prize donated by Hypo Group Alpe Adria was presented by Hypo chairman Franz Makula.

Krampitz received more than 20 percent of the votes (268). Catherina Satanik, in second place, received just over 173 of the votes. And in third place, with 134 votes, was Gregor Sander.

Spinnen: “Reading is a process”

In the traditional concluding speech delivered by the chair of the jury, Burkhard Spinnen addressed a number of “just and reasonable truths” on the subject of assessing the reading of literature.

Burkhard Spinnen mit Maskenbildnerin Angelika (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)Burkhard Spinnen mit Maskenbildnerin Angelika (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)
An additional benefit when you are in the public light: you are looked after by the pretty ORF make-up artists.

“Hölderlin, too, was considered mad for 100 years, sitting in a tower scribbling notes on pieces of paper.” And so all assessment of literature, he believes, is preliminary and constructed, and embedded in the process of living itself. Literature means to engage with alien worlds. “Reading is an adventure that starts anew on every page 1 – this truth is just and reasonable for the audience.”