The literature week (LW) came to an end on Monday.
On Sunday evening there was the public reading with the winners of the literature prize: Marcel Beyer and Nadja Küchenmeister. Each of them got the prize for their book of poetry. That is uncommon (mostly authors get the prize who write prose), but maybe that´s the reason why there were not so many people in the audience like the last few years. I mean, there were around 120 people and that´s not bad, but that is less if you compare it to the last 5 or 6 years, when the winners read excerpts of their novels or of their short story collection. However, it was an interesting evening with excellent poems and talks about writing.
On Monday the LW came to the very end with the prize-giving ceremony in the old city hall of Bremen. The mayor made a speech in the beginning, then there were two laudatio speeches in honour of each winner and the winners made their thank you speeches. Nadja Küchenmeister talked in her speech about the process of writing poetry and about the power and strangeness of objects she is writing about in her poems. Marcel Beyer made a brilliant and very political speech about a protest movement we sadly have since the end of last year in Germany. Every Monday evening thousands of people (especially in Dresden) demonstrate against immigration (fortunately, also thousands of people demonstrate every Monday against that movement and for immigration). Beyer, who has lived in Dresden for 20 years made a courageous speech against that movement and their ideas. He quoted slogans these people use and mixed it up with phrases of Dantes Inferno, so that was quite fascinating.
By the way, the main winner gets 20.000 Euro and the promoting prize winner (Förderpreisträger) gets 6.000. There are quite a lot of literature-prizes, literature-competitions and scholarships in Germany. They play an important role for all the authors who try to make their living with writing.
There were three other public readings I visited the last few days:
On Saturday I attended an “independent” reading in the culture pub “Kuß Rosa” organized by the theatre network “Also mir schmeckts Theater” (“So to me it tastes theatre” – which is a kind of odd name). Three young authors read their own texts. Philipp Böhm was one of them, he read a short story, so did Jörn Grebe, with whom I had a public reading during the LW in last year. The third author was Ayda Kültür who read excerpts of texts she had written about theatre. In-between (after every single reading) they played some funny Super-8-movies. All in all a superb evening with exciting texts, which are sadly all unpublished, till now.
On Sunday evening (after the reading of the LW) I was at another reading in the Café Ambiente, a reading of the LiteraTour Nord. I guess I mentioned this one before. The LiteraTour Nord is a reading series and competition at the same time, which takes place with six writers, who read in several cities in Northern Germany. In the end a jury selected a winner, who gets 15.000 Euro. On Sunday, the author Michael Köhlmeyer read an excerpt of his novel “Zwei Herren am Strand” (Two gentlemen at the beach), a novel about the friendship between Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill. Köhlmeyer is a grandiose storyteller, and he fascinated the 70 or 80 people in the audience with his stories. He was not just reading, but he was telling details of their lives while he was talking with the moderator. By the way, maybe these 70-80 people were the people I missed at the other reading. So, maybe poetry had nothing to do with there being less people at the other reading, as I have argued. I`m not sure about that).
Yesterday evening I attended another public reading in the Café Ambiente. Again Philipp Böhm was reading as well as Benjamin Tietjen, a colleague of mine with whom I’ve done a lot of readings with in the last years, and I will have one again on the 7th of march. Both read their winning texts, for which they got the Bremen author scholarship (das Bremer Autorenstipendium). Every year two authors from Bremen get this scholarship – that means, they get 2.500 Euro (Nora and Nikolas had won that too a few years ago). Beyond that they get the opportunity to stay for four weeks in an artist flat in Berlin for free. It was a very interesting reading and the audience used this opportunity to discuss with the authors about their texts and about writing itself. Sadly, there were not very many people in the audience. I guess just because the weather was really bad yesterday (a lot of rain and wind).
Today I have my own public reading. I will read a “best-of “my short stories and play some records in-between. That will happen at 8 p.m. in a new location called KARTON in the quarter where I live (there I will also have the reading with Benjamin and there we will continue our Doppelpack reading series in march). I´m looking forward to this event, because as I already told you, for me it is very important to read my texts regularly in front of an audience. I´m curious what will happen and how many people will be there.
So, that is my last report, for now. I really enjoyed this exchange. Thank you, Nyana, for your excellent reports, I loved to read them every time. See you tomorrow at the closing table.