The Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding 2023 is awarded to the Russian-Jewish author Maria Stepanova, who was born in Moscow in 1972 and currently lives in exile in German, for her poetry volume “Girls Without Clothes”.




Photo: © Ekko from Schwichow/Suhrkamp Verlag




The volume was published by Suhrkamp in May 2022. The jury convinced the unconditionality with which it insists on the poetic perception of the world. The poetry cycles – as songful as narrative – impressively demonstrate how an awake sense of history inscribes itself in current poetry. It follows the traces of nameless dead, reveals the untold, strikes ironic hooks and resists any kind of slogan. Even if Maria Stepanova looks into the abyss in her poems, her great hope remains language. It helps non-imperial Russia to gain a literary voice that deserves to be heard throughout Europe.


The jury of the Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding 2023 includes Dr. Maike Albath (literature critic and author), Michael Lemling (managing director of the Lehmkuhl bookstore), Dr. Lothar Müller (literary critic and journalist), Dr. Daniela Strigl (literature critic and essayist) and Gundula Sell (speaker, Saxon State Ministry of Science, Culture and Tourism). The prize will be awarded for the opening of the Leipzig Book Fair on the evening of the 26th. April 2023 awarded to Maria Stepanova in the Gewandhaus.


The Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding, awarded annually since 1994 and endowed with 20,000 euros, is one of the most important literary awards in Germany. The prize board of trustees consists of the Free State of Saxony, the City of Leipzig, the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels e.V. and the Leipziger Messe. The Federal Agency for Civic Education is a cooperation partner. Detailed information on the Leipzig Book Prize on European Understanding, the previous prize winners, the Board of Trustees and the jury can be found at


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