It's such a shame the name's so misleading. Berlin's Open Mike is a one-of-a-kind literary competition for writers in German under the age of 35. It's not a free-for-all of back-biting wannabes - the wannabes have to apply in advance and are picked out by a team of professional editors, then perform on stage before a huge audience, and then a team of established writers chooses the winners. Who often go on to greater things, but even the non-winners get a lot out of it, flanked as the competition itself is by workshops and activities.
It's always a pleasure to attend, albeit in a rather sado-masochistic way. After all, you have to watch the poor candidates sweating on stage, some of them reading for the first time ever in public, in a really huge space (and I've stood on the old stage myself, the audience looks truly formidable and rendered me a quivering wreck). And also you have to sit through two solid days of readings.
They've turned twenty now and are venturing into new territories with a different venue and their own blog. I like it so far. Sadly, I can't really attend but I shall keep up with events from afar.