So tomorrow's the first day of the Ingeborg Bachmann literary competition in Klagenfurt, Austria. For the 35th time, 14 writers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland will be reading over three days while seven critics pick over their remains. It's not unlike a Eurovision Song Contest for literary types, only obviously much more glamorous. As you may or may not know, my colleague Stefan Tobler and I have translated all the entries in advance. That means I know something you don't know, unless you happen to be the person who runs the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize. Which you probably aren't.
You can watch the fun live on 3Sat, and there should be a livestream too. And for all those who've had enough already of those newspaper articles about what fun it is to go to Klagenfurt and meet all one's literary chums for a swim in the lake and a nice fish dinner, I'll be running an alternative live ticker right here on love german books - from my sofa.
The nice people at ORF kindly sent me a useful kit through the post, though. It came in a frog-green shoulder bag and consisted of rather a lot of marketing material, a programme, a pad of paper and a green pen, a book containing last year's texts, the excellent Volltext magazine, two postcards, a nametag with my name printed on it - my favourite, naturally - a two-euro drinks voucher redeemable in the Kelag café, and also a sample of small glass tiles using the advertising slogan "Inspire your world, your personal thinking rooms and your wellness and sanity regions."
So here's the plan: I'll be inspiring you - wearing the frog-green nametag - with my special insights from my personal thinking room and hoping to preserve my wellness and sanity regions. I'll have plenty of drinks in and the kind of food you can eat in front of the TV. Join me from about 10 a.m. CET. You know you want to.