The opening of the FGGL 2009

Clarissa Stadler turned to Lorenz’ general direction, “thank God you don’t get your own way too often, you also dissuaded me from applying to the ORF”, and raised laughter.

Live readings (25 - 28 June from 10.00 a.m.)
Recording of the opening on 24 June
Klagenfurt Address on Literature

The written word, it lives:

The Bachmann Prize is once again turning towards Europe, and so is the city of Klagenfurt. The ORF’s cultural presenters Clarissa Stadler welcomed the guests with her opening remarks – she will present the competition for the first time this year. Since she grew up in three countries – Germany, Belgium and Austria –, one could not wish for a more suitable presenter of this celebration of literature.

Clarissa Stadler (Bild: ORF)Clarissa Stadler (Bild: ORF)

For the first time, the Festival of German Language Literature is being presented by ORF literature expert Clarissa Stadler.

“I myself, incidentally, am also new”

In her address, Stadler talked about the changing orientation of literature that can be felt everywhere: the “financial crisis”, she believes, forces art to turn back, “visions and utopias” are called for – the focus is on the creative process, and no longer on the existential orientation of the “I” – a “utopia of language”, just what Ingeborg Bachmann demanded in her poetics lecture.

Stadler introduced the four new jury members and noted laconically, “I myself, incidentally, am also new.” Four new jury members, Paul Jandl, Karin Fleischanderl, Meike Feßmann and Hildegard Elisabeth Keller complete the jury team headed by Burkhard Spinnen.

Ehrengäste (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)Ehrengäste (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)

A complete sell-out down to the last seat of the ORF Theatre and many guests of honour attested to the significance of the event in Klagenfurt.

Haslitzer: “More weight to the power of the word”

ORF regional director Williy Haslitzer offered some “practical tips” on this “company outing of the literature scene”, which is jointly organised by the ORF, the provincial capital of Klagefurt and 3sat. The Internet project “Bachmann Prize goes Europe” will give even more weight to the “power of the word”, Haslitzer believes.

Last year’s experiment hit the jackpot in view of the many translations – for instance of Markus Orth’s “Zimmermädchen” and Tillmann Rammstett’s “Der Kaiser von China”. One should almost call the project “Bachmann Prize goes worldwide”. The high-quality translations into seven languages have turned all the authors into winners already.

As every year, and in keeping with tradition, Haslitzer presented the organiser of the Bachmann Prize, Michaela Monschein, with a gift in the form of a book and said, “Madame Bachmann Prize, you have done it again”. Haslitzer affectionately described her as a “literary imperialist” and presented her with a valuable book.

Willy Haslitzer (Bild: ORF)Willy Haslitzer (Bild: ORF)

ORF regional director Willy Haslitzer confirmed that the “Bachmann Prize goes Europe” experiment has proved to have hit the jackpot.

Success depends on the “right platform”

Haslitzer asked the directors of the sponsors Kelag and Hypo Group Alpe Adria, Werner Pietsch and Kurt Makula, to join him on the stage, but not before warning the authors of the dangers lurking in Lake “Wörter”-See (“Wörter” being the German word for “words” as well as the name of the local lake).

Hypo director Makula emphasised that success always depends on the right platform: the fact that Croatian has become the eighth language to become part of the competition suits their sponsorship perfectly, he continued, since Hypo, too, has started expanding into Croatia.

Square pass between literature and football

Werner Pietsch pointed out the “square pass” between literature and football, which is paid tribute to this year with a football match between the Austrian literature national team and the “FGLL Literature” team.

Willy Haslitzer, Kurt Makula, Werner Pietsch (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)Willy Haslitzer, Kurt Makula, Werner Pietsch (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)

Representatives of the main sponsors (in the photo regional director Willy Haslitzer with Kurt Makula and Werner Pietsch) confirmed how important their commitment is for them for the reading competition in Klagenfurt.

“Access to another world”

This year, the political greetings were delivered by finance and cultural speaker Albert Gunzer. He emphasise the “special significance” of literature. When you read, you leave behind the one-way street called “stress” and gain access to “another world”.

Head of programming endorses the competition

wolfgang Lorenz, Clarissa Stadler (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)wolfgang Lorenz, Clarissa Stadler (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)

The head of ORF programming, Wolfgang Lorenz, came out as a “an initial sceptic”, who once tried to dissuade Ernst Willner and Humbert Fink from the idea of holding the competition. Today, he believes, one must “endorse the competition”.

Clarissa Stadler turned to Lorenz’ general direction, “thank God you don’t get your own way too often, you also dissuaded me from applying to the ORF”, and raised laughter.

The highlight: The Klagenfurt Address on Literature

While “Der Katzensilberkranz in der Henselstraße” turned out to be a sinister reproach of the province’s and the city’s political representatives, the audience applauded for several minutes.

More at
Winkler’s text against the powers in “K”

Winkler accused the politicians of “K” (an abbreviation for Klagenfurt used by Ingeborg Bachmann) of wasting money on football stadiums and tax advisor fees.

Josef Winkler (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)Josef Winkler (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)

The “Klagenfurt Address on Literature” delivered by Josef Winkler, who passed severe criticism on the conditions in “K”, was a rapturous success with the audience.

Criticism of the “senseless death of a little boy”

The author’s main criticism was the cause of the death of the little boy Lorenz Woschitz two years ago. The boy died at a junction, which was also a building site, in Klagenfurt’s Radetzkystraße.

Because, Winkler believes, “again and again staff was taken away to work at the football stadium” and for weeks no builders were seen on said building site, the road builders responsible for this – Winkler called them “the Grim Reapers of Klagenfurt” – “finally literally dug the schoolboy’s death out of the asphalt”.

totale ORF Theater (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)totale ORF Theater (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)

Detonation with “long aftershock” expected

With a side glance towards the current political culture, Winkler declared that children will have “no future”. “They [politicians] have no money for a library for children and young people. They have no money for books. They have no money for the books by Ingeborg Bachmann.

“This detonation will be echoed by an aftershock for some time in Klagenfurt”, Clarissa Stadler observed after Winkler’s speech.


The jury is expected to be “mercilessly humane”

Burkhard Spinnen (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)Burkhard Spinnen (Bild: ORF/Johannes Puch)

In his “inaugural address”, head of the jury, Burkhard Spinnen, said that he found it difficult to return to normal business with an “elegant phrase”. Even if you prepared yourself at home – “in Klagenfurt everything will be unlike you thought it would be”.

It is not easy to satisfy the high standards in Klagenfurt. One expects 14 literary masterpieces by brilliant authors, who have hitherto worked undercover only to be discovered now, and a mercilessly humane jury.

But: literature also means “plenty of failures and attempts, and a little bit of success”; Klagenfurt, he continued, is a continual “agonising over the possibilities of contemporary literature”.

Barbara Frank

The order of the readings





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