The City of Aachen Literary Prize was instituted in memory of the author Walter Hasenclever, who was born in Aachen. It is awarded for works which have some association with Walter Hasenclever's work by virtue of their commitment, their choice of subject or their style.
Walter Hasenclever was born on the 8th of July 1890. He died on the 21st of June 1940 in an internment camp in the south of France. His poetical works, together with his drama "Der Sohn" (The Son), show him to be a member of the literary Expressionism movement.
In 1917 Walter Hasenclever was awarded the Kleist Prize. He lived in Paris as a journalist from 1924 to 1930. During this period he wrote a number of plays, "Ein besserer Herr" (A better sort of Gentleman), "Ehen werden im Himmel geschlossen" (Marriages are made in Heaven), "Napoleon greift ein" (Napoleon intervenes) etc. These plays were so successful that, for a while, he was the most popular dramatist in the German speaking world.
In 1930 Hasenclever worked in Hollywood as Greta Garbo's script writer. His works were banned in Germany in 1933. As an opponent of the regime he was physically in danger. He fled into exile in France where he committed suicide at the results of Germany's successes at the beginning of the Second World War.
The Walter Hasenclever Prize is granted to a writer of literature in the German language. It is awarded every two years together with a Promotion Prize for a German language author from the Aachen area. The prize can also take the form of a grant. The prize is not open to competition.
The Walter Hasenclever Prize has existed in its present form since 1996. It is funded by the Walter-Hasenclever-Society, the Einhard Gymnasium, where Hasenclever went to school, the Aachen book trade, the city of Aachen and the German Schiller-Society.
Further information on the Walter-Hasenclever-Gesellschaft homepage: