The German Academy for Language and Literature was founded in 1949. Among the 180 Fellows – most of them from Germany, Austria, or Switzerland, but many from other countries all over the world – are a great number of the German language’s most important authors and critics, translators and philologists, but also leading scholars from the humanities distinguished by the style of their writings: philosophers, historians, experts on law, art, or music.
The foundation of the Academy’s work is the open intellectual exchange during two annual conferences and other events centred on specific cultural and political topics. The Academy holds a watching brief on the development of our language and tries to comment and intervene by fusing the linguistic, critical and literary competence represented by the membership. It safeguards literary tradition through an ambitious program of historical and contemporary publications, and it engages in cultural foreign policy through conferences abroad, institutional cooperation and meetings between authors.
The Academy (which has its seat in Darmstadt near Frankfurt) annually awards the Georg Büchner Prize, the most renowned literary award for writers in the German language, as well as four other prizes – for excellence in criticism, translation, writing in the sciences, and for fostering German culture abroad.