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Wendelin Van Draanen’s “Wild Bird” is awarded the Buxtehude Bull Award 2019 – Favourite by youths

Buxtehude. The winner of “the Bull” 2019 is has been decided: The US American author, Wendelin Van Draanen, has been chosen for her book, “Wild Bird” (Magellan Publishers, translated from English by Jessika Komina and Sandra Knuffinke), for the distinguished German youth literature award, the Buxtehude Bull.

For the jury, made up of eleven youths and eleven adults, 14-year-old Wren’s story was a clear favourite among the youths. The award is endowed with €5000 and a steel-plastic figure of the bull. The Hanseatic town of Buxtehude hopes that the official award ceremony will take place at the end of the year.

The particular fact about the Buxtehude award, born in 1971: 22 laypersons vote for their favourite book out of about 80 newly released books within the previous year – making up the shortlist of books. This year, the winner was up against Julia Dippe’s “Cassardim – Jenseits der Goldenen Brücke” (*The Other Side of the Golden Bridge), Helen Endemann’s “Todesstreifen” (*Death Strip), Brigitte Jünger’s, “Der Mantel” (*The Coat), Brigid Kemmerer’s “Call It What You Want” and Aline Sax’s “Grenzgänger” (*Cross-Border Worker). It was from this list, that the jury members each individually decided their personalised ranking order. Then everything was calculated and evaluated through a specific points system.

The Corona pandemic also influenced this year’s award decision: Traditionally, the counting of the votes is a small, social event. However, this year it took place away from the public. The event was about 80 minutes long and was streamed through Hanseatic Buxtehude’s own You-Tube channel. The only audience members: A small production company from the “Altes Land” who could enable the recording and streaming and additionally bringing in some creative content – personal presentations from all of the short-list title authors.

You can watch the decision on

What the winner’s title is about

3:47 a.m. That’s when they come for Wren. She’s hustled out of her house and into a waiting car, then a plane, and then taken on a forced march into the desert. This is what happens to kids who’ve gone so far off the rails, their parents don’t know what to do with them anymore. This is a wilderness therapy camp. Wren is ropable, as she doesn’t know what she has done to deserve spending eight weeks of survivalist camping in the desert. Or does she?

Gesamtübersicht Buxtehuder Bulle 2019

buxtehuder bulle Acht Wochen WüsteWendelin Van Draanen

"Acht Wochen Wüste"

(Übersetzung: Jessika Komina, Sandra Knuffinke )

Platz 1
Punkte Jugendliche: 65
Punkte Erwachsene: 35
Punkte Gesamt: 100


buxtehuder bulle Der MantelBrigitte Jünger

"Der Mantel"


Platz 2
Punkte Jugendliche: 25
Punkte Erwachsene: 56
Punkte Gesamt: 81


buxtehuder bulle TodesstreifenHelen Endemann


Rowohlt Rotfuchs

Platz 3
Punkte Jugendliche: 31
Punkte Erwachsene: 33
Punkte Gesamt: 64


buxtehuder bulle GrenzgängerAline Sax


(Übersetzung: Eva Schweikart)

Platz 4
Punkte Jugendliche: 10
Punkte Erwachsene: 51
Punkte Gesamt: 61


buxtehuder bulle Das Schicksal weiß schon was es tutBrigid Kemmerer

"Das Schicksal weiß schon, was es tut"

(Übersetzung: Henriette Zeltner, Sylvia Bieker)

Platz 5
Punkte Jugendliche: 40
Punkte Erwachsene: 20
Punkte Gesamt: 60


buxtehuder-bulle CassardimJulia Dippel

"Cassardim – Jenseits der goldenen Brücke"


Platz 6
Punkte Jugendliche: 38
Punkte Erwachsene: 14
Punkte Gesamt: 52



The Buxtehude Bull is supported by the Else and Heinrich Klindtworth Foundation (Else und Heinrich Klindtworth-Stiftung). The Buxtehude Library is supported in the distribution of the Buxtehude Bull by the Buxtehude Library Support Society (Förderkreis der Stadtbibliothek Buxtehude e.V), as well as the natural florist Florales with their summer reading corner and the Buxtehude Rotary Club.

About the Award

The Buxtehude Bull is one of the most renowned and tradition-steeped German literature awards. In 1971, it was initiated by Buxtehude book dealer, Winfried Ziemann. The award is endowed with €5000 and the Buxtehude Bull's aim is to inspire youths to read, as well as to encourage the spread of good youth literature. Through the jury's traditional combination of equal numbers of eleven youths and eleven adults, this award comprises the interface between literary quality, literary preference with themes that collectively move youths and literary experts for almost 50 years. Through its aims and its processes, this award is unique within the German-speaking world.

Buxtehude BULL-evard

Winners are immortalized within the Buxtehude town-scape by way of brass plates. To date, the BULL-evard – the winners' “Walk of Fame” - has over 40 plates laid throughout the town's walkways. Among them the authors: Christine Fehér, John Boyne, Jostein Gaarder, Gudrun Pausenwang and Stephenie Meyer.

* unofficial translations of titles – for comprehension purposes only