#BerlinWritingPrize2022 PRIZE-GIVING EVENT at Hallesches Haus


Date: Thursday, January 12

Time: Doors at 7:00, readings from 7:30

Location: Hallesches Haus  (Tempelhofer Ufer 1)

Entry: €3

🎉 Join us on January 12, 2023 for the 2022 Berlin Writing Prize-Giving Party! 🎉

Come along to Hallesches Haus to celebrate our winners, toast our judges and sponsors, enjoy readings, drinks, and all the good old literary chat!

While the full programme is yet TBA, we invite you to save the date and look forward to a post-holiday banger!

* €3 Entry

There will be readings from our winning authors and shortlisted writers, including first-prize winner, Rachel Swearingen, who will be on her one-month residency at The Circus Hotel. So come say hi to her and make her feel at home!

More details on the line up coming soon! You can RSVP on Facebook to stay tuned with updates about the event.

The three winning writers will be published by SAND Journal.

All of us at the Reader – and our wonderful judges (those that can make it!), Jennifer Hewson, Ben Fergusson, Katrin Schönig, Ashley Moore, and Sharon D. Mertins – look forward seeing you!

Special thanks go out to our sponsors and partners for making the 2022 Berlin Writing Prize possible:

 Hallesches Haus, Another Country Bookshop, The British Council, The Circus Hotel, and SAND Journal.



Announcing the Winners and Short List of #BerlinWritingPrize2022


Well, it certainly wasn’t easy with such a stunning Long List, but it sure was a whole lot of fun! After much invigorating discussion, our judges finally reached a decision. We are delighted to finally announce the Winners and short listed writers for this years Berlin Writing Prize! 



Clown School – Rachel Swearingen


Runners up

Undiagnosed – Lukas Kofoed Reimann
in this soft place– Rosemarie Geary

Short List

Before, behind, between, above, below – Mary Franklin

Book, Escape, Sanctuary– Lesley Finn 

Empire of Light– Young Rader 

Gorgeous– Matthew Perkins 

Off Grid -Deirdre Shanahan 

Shepherd -Andrew Meehan 

The River at the End of the Road– Hillary Millán


Rachel Swearingen will be undertaking the residency in Berlin at The Circus Hotel, while our 2 runners up win 2-nights’ accommodation at The Circus Hotel over the weekend of our prize-giving party in January 2023. Rachel and the two runners up will get a 30-minute private publishing Q&A with literary agent, Jenny Hewson (Lutyens & Rubinstein) and their stories will be featured on SAND Journal online. We’ll keep you posted!

Scroll down for more about the competition, the full longlist and honourable mentions.

We really really want to thank everyone who entered this competition. It was an absolute pleasure to read your stories. Thanks to our judges, our readers, SAND Journal, The Circus Hotel, our sponsors, and a big CONGRATULATIONS to our winners, who blew us away with their words!

Best wishes,


The Reader Berlin


Everybody say Clown School!



Long List Announcement


It’s been challenging to choose among so many great submissions but we have finally managed to narrow it down. We are delighted to announce the entries that have been long listed for the 2022 Berlin Writing Prize!

As submissions are read anonymously we’ll be keeping the author names for the Long List under wraps until the judges decide the winning story on October 8th, 2022.

The winners and the shortlist will be announced on October 9th.

In the meantime, congratulations to the writers of these great submissions!


Long List

In alphabetical order (by title), they are:

A Difficult Birth –Bethany Wren

Are You Listening? –Zhane Hylton

Before, behind, between, above, below –Mary Franklin

Book, Escape, Sanctuary –Lesley Finn 

Clown School –Rachel Swearingen

Constellation –Zak Jones

Empire of Light –Young Rader 

Escape to the Stars –Christian Beltran

Getting the Story Straight –Hannah Harper

Gorgeous –Matthew Perkins

I remember you –Lisa Blackwell

in this soft place –Rosemarie Geary

Like a Star –Marcella Marx

Off Grid –Deirdre Shanahan 

One Day That Border Won’t Be There –David Spencer

Perfect Stranger –Annie Zhu

Shepherd –Andrew Meehan

The Bird That Speaks and I Cannot –Nadia Froese

The Footsteps of Sister Annagrete –Will Studdert

The Garden –Helen Bain

The Land of Our Fathers –Alice Jolly

The River at the End of the Road –Hillary Millán

There is No Comfort –Nathan Stormer

Undiagnosed –Lukas Kofoed Reimann

Worm’s Head –Sybilla Harvey


Honourable Mentions:


Cat Sitter — Jessica Almereyda

Exit Velocity — Nicholas Ruddock

Iroída — Finola Griffin

Jouhatsu — Cathy Adams

Maari — Avrina Prabala-Joslin

Soirée — Edward Fortes

Soledad y el Mar — Paloma Ruiz

The Child in the Field Bears Your Father’s Name — Ọbáfẹ́mi Thanni

The Elephants — Tina Marie Serra

The Summers — Laura Moisi

the tenderest kisses have the aftertaste of rat — Ashley Yang-Thompson

The Waterpark — Laura Lynes


Thank you to everyone who submitted and best of luck to the long-listed writers for shortlisting!


– Competition Details

The theme this year is Escape and we invite entries from published and unpublished writers resident anywhere in the world.

The Winner will receive a three-week residency at Berlin’s The Circus Hotel  

The dates of residency are January 2nd to January 22, 2023. The competition winner will receive their very own apartment, plus a month’s breakfast vouchers for the Circus Hostel, and up to 100 euros in travel costs toward their travel to Berlin. The winning writer and the two runners up will get a 30-minute private publishing Q&A with literary agent, Jenny Hewson (Lutyens & Rubinstein) and will be featured on SAND Journal online. This feature will include publication of their winning entry, an interview, or both, depending on the author’s preference.

Two runners up will receive two nights in a double room of their own at The Circus Hotel over January’s competition prize-giving event, and a travel budget to a maximum of 100 euros each to cover their journey to Berlin. Their winning entries will be published in SAND Journal online.

A further seven shortlisted writers will win goodie bags, plus invitations to our prize-giving event on January 2023. 


Genre: Prose (fiction and non-fiction)

Length: Max. 3000 words, excluding title

Entry Fee: 10 euros via PayPal, (see Submission Guidelines below)

Closes: Midnight August 15th, 2022 (Berlin CEST)

Announcements: Longlist will be announced in September 2022. Winners will be announced in October.

Prize Giving Event: January 2023 (date tbc)

The Berlin Writing Prize has featured both unpublished writers and debut novelists, including two who went on to be longlisted for The Booker Prize in 2018. Literary agents have placed our longlist on their radar, so if you are an emerging writer, step right up!

Read on for submission guidelines and contest rules.


All submissions will be read by The Reader and SAND Journal team, who will then compile a longlist to be read by our panel of five judges.

Jenny Hewson-Judge 2022

Jenny Hewson is a literary agent at Lutyens & Rubinstein. She represents a wide range of internationally bestselling and award winning authors from around the world, including Sarah Perry, Christos Tsiolkas, Melissa Harrison, Amy Sackville, Lauren Owen, Alexander MacLeod and Clare Pollard.

Ben Fergusson-Judge 2022

Ben Fergusson is a writer and translator from the UK. His debut novel, The Spring of Kasper Meier (2014), won the Betty Trask Prize and the HWA Debut Crown, and was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. His other work has made the ‘Best Books of the Year’ lists in The Sunday Times, the Times Literary Supplement, and the Financial Times and his short fiction has been twice longlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award and twice shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. In 2020 he won the Seán O’Faoláin International Short Story Prize for his story ‘A Navigable River’.

Katrin S-Judge 2022

Katrin Schönig is the general manager of the Circus Hotel in Berlin where the winner of the Berlin Writing Prize 2022 will stay for the duration of their residency. A long time lover of books, Katrin has a Master’s degree in English and German Literature from Humboldt University and is the events coordinator for Elsewhere: A Journal of Place. Her favourite writers include Erich Kästner, Klaus Mann, Jane Austen, Brigitte Reimann and Carson McCullers, and you can find her on Instagram at @kaschoe_berlin.
(Photograph Arne Grams)

Ashley Moore Judge 2022

Ashley Moore is a writer, editor, and educator originally from Oklahoma, USA. She is Editor in Chief at SAND and teaches at the University of Bayreuth. Ashley develops training programs for fiction editors, webinars on fiction writing and submitting to literary journals, and workshops on collaborative writing and editing. Work she’s chosen and edited for SAND has been shortlisted for the Stack Awards and is forthcoming in Best Small Fictions. Her own fiction was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize 2020, and her flash fiction was chosen for Wigleaf‘s Top 50 Very Short Fictions of 2018 (selected by Manuel Gonzales). Her short stories, flash fiction, and creative nonfiction can be found in the indie publications she most admires.

Sharon D. Mertins is a Guatemalan writer. She is the manager of The Reader Berlin and co-founder of the Story Strumpets podcast. Her short fiction has appeared in various literary journals. She lives in Berlin, where she is working on a novel.






The Berlin Writing Prize is brought to you by The Reader Berlin in partnership with SAND Journal and The Circus Hotel.

SAND Journal is Berlin’s premier English-language literary journal. A nonprofit endeavour published twice a year by a team from the city’s international literary community, SAND features work by writers, translators, and artists from around the world and seeks out fresh and underrepresented perspectives. Twitter: @SANDJournal

THE CIRCUS HOTEL is a home from home for travellers. As an independent hostel, hotel and suite of apartments in the heart of Berlin, The Circus has been welcoming guests to one of the world’s most inspiring cities for more than twenty years. With a varied programme of cultural events, a carefully curated selection of services and facilities, a roof terrace with spectacular views, cutting edge design and a team of committed hosts ready to welcome its guests, The Circus never stands still.



We owe a great debt of gratitude to our sponsors, whose support is essential to what we do, and who all – each in their own way – represent the free-thinking, innovative, independent spirit of Berlin.

HALLESCHES HAUS  is located on the Landwehr canal in Kreuzberg and has established itself as one of Berlin’s most unique venues. The Neo-Gothic style building it lives in, known as The Alte Postamt SW 61, is a historic landmark designed by Hermann Struve between 1900 and 1902. After its retirement as a postal center, years as a Berliner nightclub (Horst Kzbg), its spacious and attractive interior now houses the general store / lunch room, and serves as event space for readings, workshops, and all kinds of delightful gatherings. It is a favorite for writers and artistic types who take advantage of the cafe’s allocated workspace on weekdays.

THE BRITISH COUNCIL is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. They are on the ground in six continents and over 100 countries, bringing international opportunity to life, every day.



  1. Closing date for receipt of entries is August 15, 2022 at midnight Berlin time.
  2. Entrants must be 18 years old or over on the closing date, August 15, 2022.
  3. The maximum length of submissions is 3,000 words (does not include title). There is no minimum length.
  4. The 2022 Berlin Writing Prize is open to all published and unpublished writers. There is no geographical restriction on entry, but all entries must be in English.
  5. Authors may enter as many times as they like. There is an entry fee of 10 euros for each entry submitted. Entries must be submitted via separate emails. Payment of the entry fee must be made via PayPal to competition@thereaderberlin.com. The PayPal transaction ID for each payment must be entered into the subject line of the submission email.
  6. Entries must be the work of a sole author, no co-authored texts will be accepted.
  7. Entries will not be returned. Please keep a copy. No corrections or alterations can be made to your submission after receipt of the entry, though the winning, runner-up, and longlisted entries will be subject to editing before publication.
  8. Entries must be entirely the work of the entrant and must never have been previously published, either in print or online (this includes self-published work, ebooks, magazines, journals, websites, blogs, social-networking sites), or broadcast or won a prize in another writing competition on or before August 15, 2022. Any entry found guilty of plagiarism will be disqualified. Simultaneous submissions are welcome – but please let us know as soon as possible if your submission is to be published elsewhere, in print or online.
  9. Entries will be read and judged anonymously; the entrant’s name and contact details should only appear in the entry email and not anywhere on their manuscripts. The manuscripts must be free of all personal information about the author, i.e. email address, contact info, etc.
  10. Email entries will be acknowledged by email. If an entrant does not receive an email acknowledgement for an online entry they are very welcome to contact hello@thereaderberlin.com to confirm their entry has been received. Contact via email in the first instance is preferable.
  11. No entrant to the 2022 Berlin Writing Prize may win more than one prize. The judges’ decision is final and no individual correspondence will be entered into. Judges or readers cannot comment or give feedback on individual entries.
  12. By entering, entrants agree that if they win, their entry may be published in SAND Journal online (winners will be able to decide). Authors will retain worldwide copyright of their work (including film and dramatic rights) but The Reader Berlin and SAND Journal have first publication rights. The pieces must not have been previously published, in print or online (including self-published, ebook, magazines, journals, websites, blogs, social-networking sites), or broadcast or have won a prize in another writing competition on or before August 15, 2022.
  13. The overall winner must be able to undertake the residency at the Circus Hotel during the specified dates. Dates are not transferrable and no cash alternative is offered. During their residency, they will be required to read from their winning piece at the prize-winners’ event and to attend a further evening event to be agreed upon nearer the time with The Circus Hotel. In the event the winner cannot undertake the residency, the title of winner and the respective prizes will pass to the first runner up, and so on.
  14. Prizes will be awarded at the 2022 Berlin Writing Prize Event in January 2023. Results of the competition will be posted on The Reader Berlin website on the aforementioned dates.
  15. Any entrant wishing to withdraw their entry from the 2022 Berlin Writing Prize may do so at any time prior to the closing date. Entry fees cannot be refunded.

Entry implies an acceptance of all The Reader Berlin 2022 Berlin Writing Prize rules, including the right of SAND Journal to publish the three winning entries online. Copyright remains with the author. Entries that fail to comply with the entry rules and requirements may be disqualified. To request a press release, or with regard to any queries, please contact hello@thereaderberlin.com.


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