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Carolin Emcke

Carolin Emcke

German journalist; Peace Prize of the German Book Trade 2016
Carolin Emcke
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro German journalist; Peace Prize of the German Book Trade 2016
Is Writer Journalist Non-fiction writer Columnist
From Germany
Type Journalism Literature
Gender female
Birth 18 August 1967, Mülheim an der Ruhr
Age 53 years
Carolin Emcke
The details (from wikipedia)


Carolin Emcke (born 18 August 1967) is a German author and journalist who worked for Der Spiegel from 1998 to 2006, often writing from areas of conflicts. In 2008 she published Stumme Gewalt (Mute Force) in memory of Alfred Herrhausen, who was killed by the Red Army Faction in 1989. In 2013 she wrote her autobiography, Wie wir begehren (How we desire). She was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 2016.


Carolin Emcke was born in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Nordrhein-Westfalia, Germany, the daughter of an Argentinian mother and a German father. She received her Abitur in 1986. She studied philosophy, political science, and history in Frankfurt am Main, at the London School of Economics, and at Harvard University. She was promoted to Doctor of Philosophy in Frankfurt by Axel Honneth with the thesis Kollektive Identitäten: sozialphilosophische Grundlagen. From 1998 to 2006 she worked for Der Spiegel, reporting often from areas of conflicts, such as Afghanistan, Columbia, Gaza, Iraq, Lebanon and Pakistan In 2003/04 she was a lecturer for Political Theory at Yale University.

Flyer for Streitraum, a discussion with Heinz Bude (de), Bernhard Pörksen, and Sonja Zekri on Mistrust and Publicity

From 2004 Emcke has moderated a monthly discussion Streitraum at the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz in Berlin. In 2006 and 2007 she worked as an advisor of the Hamburg Media School (de). She has been a freelance writer from 2007, writing for papers such as Die Zeit and the Süddeutsche Zeitung. From 2014 she has been on the jury of the Bayerischer Buchpreis (de).

Emcke has held seminars and lectures on topics such as globalisation, theories of violence, and cultural identity. In 2008 she published Stumme Gewalt – Nachdenken über die RAF (Mute Force – Reflections on the Red Army Faction)), a memorial to her godfather, Alfred Herrhausen, who was killed by the Rote Armee Fraktion on 30 November 1989. This work encourages dialogues between groups in societies, dialogues without violence, revenge and disrespect. She received the Theodor Wolff Prize for the text.

In her 2013 autobiography, Wie wir begehren (How we desire), she described the discovery of her homosexuality, as well as the social exclusion she experienced after her coming out. In January 2014, she conducted an interview with Thomas Hitzlsperger about his coming out for Die Zeit.

Emcke in 2010

Emcke held the speech for the opening of the 2016 Ruhrtriennale, on the topic translation. She was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade on 23 October 2016 at the Paulskirche, with a laudation by Seyla Benhabib.


  • 2005: Das politische Buch of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation
  • 2006: Förderpreis of the Ernst-Bloch-Preis (de)
  • 2008: Theodor Wolff Prize
  • 2010: Otto-Brenner-Preis (de) für Kritischen Journalismus, for Islamgegner; Liberaler Rassismus
  • 2010: "Journalist of the Year" 2010 of Medium Magazin
  • 2014: Johann-Heinrich-Merck-Preis
  • 2015: Lessing-Preis des Freistaates Sachsen (de)
  • 2016: Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels

Selected works

  • Kollektive Identitäten. Sozialphilosophische Grundlagen. Campus, Frankfurt am Main / New York, NY 2000, ISBN 3-593-36484-0 (Dissertation Universität Frankfurt 1998, 360 Seiten); 2nd ed. 2010, ISBN 978-3-593-39222-6.
  • (in German) Von den Kriegen. Briefe an Freunde, Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, ISBN 3-10-017013-X 
    • (in English) Echoes of Violence. Letters from a War Reporter, Princeton / Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0-691-12903-7 
  • Stumme Gewalt. Nachdenken über die RAF. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2008, ISBN 978-3-10-017017-0 (with contributions by Winfried Hassemer and Wolfgang Kraushaar).
  • Wie wir begehren. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2012, ISBN 978-3-10-017018-7.
  • Weil es sagbar ist: Über Zeugenschaft und Gerechtigkeit. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2013, ISBN 978-3-10-017019-4.
  • Gegen den Hass. Essay. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2016, ISBN 978-3-10-397231-3.

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