Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Klagenfurt Kicks Off

The good people of Klagenfurt chose to wait until tomorrow to start the interesting part of the Festival of German-Language Literature - the Bachmann Prize readings. This year, not only can you read translations of the entries in seven languages, you can also watch all sorts of no doubt fascinating video files.

Here's what they say about themselves: "Without a doubt, the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, alongside the Joseph Breitbach Prize and the Georg Büchner Prize, is the most important literary award in the German-speaking world." The 14 competitors are chosen by the jury and compete on the grounds of a single submission, and are a whole lot less established than the winner of the Büchner Prize. But what with German-speaking readers' increasing interest in awards, a win is good good good for books sales.

I like the fact that although Klagenfurt claims to be "the capital of literature" it's really only the Austrian book capital - a quick look at the list of competition entrants reveals that six out of the seven Germans in the running live where? In Berlin.

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