“Enormous passion and thoroughness”

Axel Eggebrecht Prize 2024 goes to Franziska Sophie Dorau.

Leipzig, 21 May 2024 . The Austrian feature author and director Franziska Sophie Dorau is awarded the Axel Eggebrecht Prize 2024 by Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig . This was decided by the jury chaired by Ulrike Toma, NDR public broadcasting. The award honours a life's work in the field of radio features and is endowed with 10,000 euros. The award ceremony will take place on 7 August 2024 as part of the Summer Festival of the Sparkasse Leipzig Foundations at Media Campus Villa Ida in Leipzig, the seat of the Foundations. On the same date, the Günter Eich Prize for a life's work in the field of radio play will be awarded to the radio play authors Katharina Bihler and Stefan Scheib as a team.

Stephan Seeger, Managing Director of Media Foundation and Director Foundations of Sparkasse Leipzig, pays tribute to this year's laureate: "As a feature author, Franziska Sophie Dorau sees her work as an exploration, the basis of which is to establish trust and not to collect opinions; sensitive and flexible to that to react to the material instead of inserting it into a prefabricated concept; never to judge, but to trigger an open and well-founded discussion. I warmly congratulate Franziska Sophie Dorau on the absolutely deserved award with our Axel Eggebrecht Prize and would also like to thank the jury for this excellent choice."

"What means radio feature to me? An audio work of art with a documentary character. A condensate that is not only relevant in terms of content, but also aesthetically designed. I would like to give the listeners an impression that is just as strong in a single hour as I have in my several months of dealing with a topic. Being awarded the Axel Eggebrecht Prize is a special honour for me, as this great radio producer of the last century was able to combine the highest political commitment - including the fight against National Socialism - with a great affinity for literary writing. For him, his joy in experimenting with form was not an end in itself, but a vehicle: linked in every minute to his unerring sense of journalistic relevance," said laureate Franziska Sophie Dorau.

The jury, which, in addition to jury chairwoman Ulrike Toma, also included Elisabeth Stratka (head of the features & features department at Radio Ö1 of ORF public broadcasting) and Wolfgang Schiffer (long-time head of radio plays, radio features and literature at WDR public broadcasting), justified the choice as follows: "The Austrian feature author Franziska Sophie Dorau creates her own acoustic worlds with her features and makes them tangible for the audience in an unusual way. She devotes herself to cultural and socio-political topics with meticulous research and shows us, up close and vividly, excerpts from reality - whether it's about the life and suffering of a slot machine addict or about the fate of demented German-speaking seniors under the Thai sun...Her works demonstrate enormous passion and thoroughness, formal and linguistic precision and a clear sense of sound and rhythm...Every feature excites the audience his way into his own world and, at best, triggers discussions."

About the laureate

Franziska Sophie Dorau, born in Vienna in 1979, completed her bilingual education at the Lycée français de Vienne and then studied “Comparative Literature”, with a focus on English and Romance languages, at the University of Vienna and the Université III Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle. In April 2005, Dorau graduated with a thesis on “The Experimental Novel by Raymond Queneau, Jacques Roubaud and Italo Calvino”.

Amongst others, she gained her first professional experience as a directing and dramaturgy assistant in various theaters and as a freelance journalist for the daily Austrian newspaper Der Standard. In 2006 she became a freelancer in the cultural department of Ö1public radio. In addition to designing cultural articles for news programs and magazines, she worked as an author of mini-features on cultural topics for the “Leporello” series. Since 2010 she has worked regularly for the Ö1 feature editorial team, where she can pursue topics that she chooses herself as an author and director. She primarily deals with socio-political topics, as well as portraits of authors and artists.

In 2012, Franziska Sophie Dorau was awarded the Prix Europa for her third feature, “Life’s Holiday. On the care of European dementia patients in Thailand”. Her audio picture “The Death of Soumayla Sacko - Harvesters, Trade Unionists, Africans in Italy,” produced in 2019, was nominated for the Prix Europa and the Prix Italia and was awarded the prestigious CIVIS Media Prize for Integration and Cultural Diversity in Europe in the “long programs” category in 2020. Franziska Sophie Dorau has been living in Berlin with her family since September 2019. There she was a scholarship holder of the European Journalism Fellowship at the Free University of Berlin in the 2019/2020 university year. Most recently she worked for the ARD public radio feature (“Kabul's Democracy in Exile. Documentary about Afghan women representatives.”, SWR radio, 2023) and the ORF public radio, for which she produced several Ö1 soundtracks. She gave a lecture on the topic of “Storytelling in Audio Documentaries” at the University of Potsdam, as well as at the Ake Blomström Award and the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) Podcasting Masterclass. Franziska Sophie Dorau is currently busy with a project for the features editorial team at RBB public radio, in co-production with ORF.

About the Axel Eggebrecht Prize

The Axel Eggebrecht Prize, which is awarded in memory of the radio feature pioneer of the same name, honours not an individual program, but an exceptional overall work in the field of German-language radio features. Previous winners were: Helmut Kopetzky (2008), Richard Goll and Alfred Treiber (2010), Friedrich Schütze-Quest (†) (2012), Paul Kohl (2014), Margot Overath (2016), Alfred Koch (2018), Dr Walter Filz (2021) and Lorenz Rollhäuser (2022). The prize is awarded every two years together with the Günter Eich Prize for outstanding radio play authors.

2024 - Axel Eggebrecht Prize