Thursday, 26 May 2011

Bachmann Prize Take 1

Yesterday they announced the participants in this year's Ingeborg Bachmann Prize. The competition is not unlike a cross between the Eurovision Song Contest and Pop Idol. Only much more glamorous, of course.

Fourteen emerging writers from Austria, Switzerland and Germany read texts live in Klagenfurt, only to be ripped to shreds live by seven critics. Then there's a nail-biting vote for the best and also a public voting bit. Although the poor writers do have to suffer, the competition really is a training ground for excellence. Many of the participants go on to greatness not much later. Last year I was rather smitten with Dorothee Elmiger - and I've just finished translating her short novel Invitation to the Bold of Heart. And just like last year, my colleague Stefan Tobler and I are translating all the texts into English. They'll go online as they're read, and I'll try and do another live blog as it happens.

I'll also try and stave off my envy for the reams of people who actually go along and partake of the fringe activities, which seem to consist of swimming in lakes, playing football, drinking and gossipping. But hey, I can do all that here in Berlin.

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