The jury that selects the winner of the annual Frankfurt Booksellers Peace Prize praised Magris' unique engagement with "the cohabitation and cooperation between different cultures."
Magris, 70, often considered a contender for the Nobel prize in literature, is best known for his works "Danube" and "Microcosms." Born in the Italian port town of Trieste, he has written extensively about Germany, central Europe and his native Italy.
He is professor of German literature at the University of Trieste and a columnist for Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
Previous winners of the euro25,000 ($35,000) award include Orhan Pamuk, Vaclav Havel, Assia Djebar, Susan Sonntag and Juergen Habermas. The prize was first awarded in 1950. Magris will receive the honor Oct. 19 at the closing event of the Frankfurt Book fair.