Dear Nyana,

As promised I will tell you about the literature week (LW) today.

Day 1

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The LW opened in the Wall-Saal of the city library with a public reading of the Bremen online magazine BOM13. The magazine is conducted by a collective of journalists, editors, photographers, writers, illustrators, comic book artist, designers and programmers. The idea is to make a magazine with plenty of room and a content that is just in the interest of the collective, regardless of advertising, editors, specified formats and subjects. So, in there you can find comics, photo art, short stories, poems and articles, which may go beyond their “normal” length. Every edition has a particular topic. This edition is on the topic of monitoring, which is, as I told you, the topic of the LW. So, half a dozen of the collective read reports, stories and poems, and a singer-songwriter played a guitar song – all about monitoring.

Day 2

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The same location as the day before, the same topic in one way, but more specific. The author and journalist Alexander Krutzfeld introduced his book about the Deep Web (also called Darknet or Hidden Web), this digital parallel world (if you compare it to the “normal” or surface internet). It was not a classical literature-reading, it was a mixture of a video-lecture, a reading and a discussion about the Deep Web. My job on stage was to introduce Alexander Krützfeld and his book, to ask him the right questions, to moderate the discussion with the audience and to finish the event at the right time. So, I would say all in all, it was a very interesting evening, everything worked well. There were more than 100 people in the audience and nearly all of them stayed to the end. Last but not least, there was a nice atmosphere on stage between the author and me, we both enjoyed working together (that´s important for the evening).

Day 3

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The public reading in the Villa Ichon was organized by the Kontor. The Bremen writers Heidrun Immendorf, Jörn Birkholz and Ian Watson read their own texts that they have written specifically for this event. Heidrun read a poetic text about a mysterious cloud, that one day enters into the living space of a couple and changes their lives. Jörn Birkholz read a humorous dialogue between two guys talking about facebook, monitoring, and what to do about that. Ian Watson wrote a couple of poems and stories about several aspects of observation, most of them in English, but one story was in German. I would like to give you an audio example of the poems he read so marvellously, but sadly I forgot my audio recorder at home this evening. But, Ian recorded at home two poems and was so generous and allowed me to publish two of his poems here. So, take a look, if you like:

The long long river

Or: Kunden, die diesen Artikel gekauft haben, kauften auch

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought:
Engels’s Condition of the English Working Class,
The Undigested Thoughts of Chairman Mao
[Does anybody really still read that now?],
Das Kapital, Antonio Gramsci’s Greatest Hits and
The Economics and Politics of the Extreme Stages
of Capitalism in Decay
(1934) by Rajani Palme Dutt.

Tell us, do you actually read this stuff?
Are you an active member of this lot,
or are you only interested in, let’s say,
an academical kind of way?

If the latter, do you teach? Do you teach this guff?
Do you recommend it to students? Have you caught
any students recommending this to you?

If the latter, um, it’s just that we thought …
well, we could maybe overlook any
possible blot on your copybook, if
you could maybe provide a name or two;
so we can ask them if they’d like to be
our friends on Facebook.

by Ian Watson

 

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Glasnost

We know nothing about the powers that be;
they know everything about you and me.
This is civil society stood on its head;
this is glasnost upside down.

A diaphanous you and a translucent me;
this is their dream of transparency
at our bowl of cornflakes and going to bed;
we’re all see-through people in a dressing-gown.

by Ian Watson

After every single reading, the musician Eckhard Petri played the sax. My job (after Angelika Sinn welcomed everyone) was to introduce into the evening and the three authors and to talk with them after their readings about their texts and to moderate the discussion with the audience in the end. It was an excellent evening with around 80 people in the audience. I guess, everybody was happy with that event (or I hope so).

Day 4 – 9

A couple of public readings, films and lectures, most of them in the city library, but also in other places like the Institut Francais. There was a reading (in French and German) with the French writer Yannick Haenel. There was another bilingual reading planed in the city library in cooperation with the Instituto Cervantes. But sadly, the Spanish writer Rosa Montero was ill and had to cancel. Both the Intsitut Francais and the Intstituto Cervantes are important for the multi-lingual literature culture in Bremen. Also, in the city library there was a reading for pupils on Thursday morning and a workshop for pupils yesterday morning with Nadja Küchenmeister, one of the winners of the Bremer literature prize 2015.

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 A Preview: Day 10 & 11

Today, there is a break, but tomorrow evening Nadja Küchenmeister will read with the main winner Marcel Beyer in the “Glocke” at six o´clock. The reading of the winners is always the main event of the LW. This year both winners get the prize for poetry, so it will be a poetry recital tomorrow. I´m curious how that will be. Everything comes to an end on Monday with the prize-giving ceremony in the old city hall of Bremen. There you can listen at noon to the laudatio speeches and the thank you speeches.

I will tell you next week, how it was. Also, I will tell you about another reading, I will attend today. Philipp Böhm is reading with two other young authors in the “Kuß Rosa”, just a few hundred meters away from my home. They will read their own texts and play Super-8-movies in-between. I´m looking forward to this event at 8 o´clock in the Kuß Rosa.

Have a good weekend.

Jens

PS: Thanks a lot for your good wishes – it helped, I feel much better:)