My regular readers will be yawning already, because there comes a time every year when I just can't hold back. The sun's actually shining, the people of Berlin are actually smiling - and I've just booked my ticket to Leipzig from a woman in a stained Deutsche Bahn waistcoat. I even managed to coax a reluctant grimace out of her with my infectious enthusiasm.
Yes! It's nearly time for the lovely, the luscious, the luxuriously leisurely Leipzig Book Fair (I really think the letter L is utterly sexy). It's like no book fair you've ever been to, O English-speaking readers, for it is there for us, the readers. There are events and readings from morning to night, around the city itself and at the fair, which is bigger than London but smaller than Frankfurt and friendlier than both rolled into one.
And there's a prize too (see my brief run-down of the nominees). I have made it a tradition to stand just outside the official seated area at the awards ceremony, seeing as the publishing world has yet to acknowledge my infinite importance by inviting me in, and rejoice along with the great and the good of German writing. This year, Publishing Perspectives tells us, mere mortals got to express an opinion on who ought to win the fiction prize, and plumped for Lutz Seiler with his short story collection Die Zeitwaage. You can also bet on the outcome, or at least I think you can, at a site called Hubdub. There too, Seiler is tied with Jan Faktor to win.
Just in advance, I have to say I've met Lutz Seiler twice, but I was rather intoxicated on the one occasion. He was very nice but he probably won't remember me if you ask him. Anyway I was rather underwhelmed by the story I heard him read from the book, "Turksib", which did however win him the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize. We shall see who really does win.
Did I mention I'm looking forward to it?