City Writer Bergen

 

The current writer (2015/2016) is Ruth Schweikert

The City Writer Prize of the former autonomous town of Bergen-Enkheim, incorporated with Frankfurt since 1977, was established in 1974 and was the first of its kind in the German-speaking region. In the meantime it has found emulators. The significance of the Prize stems from the selection of the authors and their outstanding significance for German literature. The “inventor” of the office of City Writer was the author Franz Joseph Schneider, Bergen-Enkheimer citizen and founding member of the legendary “Gruppe 47”. His idea was to offer free writers the opportunity to live without financial cares for one year. Acceptance of the symbolic office is not contingent on any obligations. This is the key reason for the success of the Prize. It comprises the use of a small house “An der Oberpforte 4” for one year and prize money currently amounting to € 20,000.

In more than 30 years of “city writership” the people of Bergen-Enkheim have truly “perused” their City Writer – in addition to personal confrontations during readings. An adult education course dealing with the work of the prizewinners has been popular for 27 years. The City Writer also has the possibility of inviting authors.

“Literature as People’s Festival”, the annual inauguration of office with literary and political speeches, e.g. by Max Frisch, Walter Jens, Alfred Grosser, Adolf Muschg and Michel Krüger, is the highlight of the opening of the “Berger Market” - on the Friday before the first Tuesday in September more than 1000 spectators crowd into the festival marquee every year.

The award of the Prize is decided by a nine-person jury consisting of three recognized personalities from the literature scene, the prizewinner of the previous year, four informed citizens of Bergen-Enkheim and the Municipal Administrator as chairperson.