Dresden (dpa/sn) – The poet and graphic artist Andreas Reimann receives the Lessing Prize 2023, which is endowed with 20,000 euros, from the Free State of Saxony. Among other things, the “incredibly extensive, multifaceted, controversial and formally surprising poetic work” of the Leipziger is honored, said the Ministry of Culture in Dresden on Wednesday. Two sponsorship awards, each worth EUR 5,000, go to the singer and songwriter Sarah Lesch from Altenburg (Thuringia) and the Leipzig author Heike Geißler, who was born in Riesa. Her works are also “enlightening in the sense of clarity, realism and a differentiated look behind the scenes,” said Minister of Culture Barbara Klepsch (CDU).

The writer and graphic artist Reimann, born in 1946, was imprisoned in the GDR for two years for “anti-state agitation”; his work was not officially acknowledged. In addition to the lyrics, he wrote songs for chanson interpreters such as Stephan Krawczyk or for the rock group Lift. “These poems make you pause and marvel, they don’t seduce or evoke, but lift the cloak of superficiality from the essence of things,” the jury said. “That’s a lot in times of arbitrariness and vanity.”

The award is to be presented on January 21, 2023 in Kamenz, the birthplace of the namesake Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781). Every two years since 1993, the prize has recognized promising and outstanding achievements in the spirit of playwrights in literature, literary criticism and theatre. The Enlightenment poet, who created classic dramas such as “Nathan the Wise”, “Minna von Barnhelm” and “Emilia Galotti”, grew up in Kamenz, attended the St. Afra Prince’s School in Meissen and also studied in Leipzig.