Author reading

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Axel Hacke at a reading in the Munich Lustspielhaus in 2009
The US author TC Boyle at the Leipzig Book Fair 2009
Readings in a so-called text box : the listeners use headphones

An author reading or poetry reading is a public lecture (recitation) by an author or poet from a (mostly own) book with sections of his work in front of an audience.


Readings take place in libraries , bookshops , in foreign cultural institutes, in literature houses and at book fairs . There are also readings by authors in front of fixed groups, e.g. B. in front of school classes. Readings in schools primarily serve to promote reading and are mainly taught by the Friedrich Bödecker Circle .


For technical marketing reasons, publishers organize readings in order to present a newly published book to the general public and to promote it . Readers attend readings because they can experience the authors personally. Each author has his own style of presenting his works and exchanging ideas with the audience. From the author's point of view, readings serve as a direct exchange between author and audience, because the author receives feedback on his texts, which he can process further.

Rafik Schami wrote a picaresque novel about the author, who hurries from reading to reading, in 1999 with Sieben Doppelgänger .

Other formats

In addition to the classic author reading, other reading formats have become established:

Some authors - like music groups - are known for their special live performances (e.g. Harry Rowohlt or the Kommissar Kluftinger authors Michael Kobr and Volker Klüpfel ). Speech sound plays an important, occasionally predominant role, especially in poetry , such as in the avant-garde movements of the 20th century ( Dada , futurism ). The Viennese group around HC Artmann , Konrad Bayer and Gerhard Rühm , concrete poetry ( Max Bense , Eugen Gomringer , Ernst Jandl , Franz Mon and others) and the French sound poets ( poètes sonores ) also work with the sound of language.

Actors read texts by well-known authors, plays that have not yet been staged ( staged reading ) or scripts that have not yet been filmed (“readings” series). This is useful for foreign-language authors.

With Poetry Slam or Open Mike (open microphone), a type of reading established in Germany in the 1990s that does not focus on a single author but on the reading event.

A variation of the public reading is reading in internet media and virtual worlds such as Second Life . The listener is offered new types of communication. In this way, what is heard can be commented on directly in a chat with a participant or publicly to all participants, without disturbing the flow of the reading.

In this context, reference should be made to the oral tradition (orality) of all literature. Rhapsods , bards or storytellers in all cultures developed their works during the lecture or memorized them and updated them in front of their listeners. The reading follows this oral tradition. The list of German-language poets' voices preserved on phonograms before 1950 also indicates that the author who recites his own works is by no means a fad.

See also


  • Susan Esmann: The reading by authors - a form of teaching literature . In: Critical Edition . No. 1/2007 , 2007 ( [PDF; 800 kB ]).
  • Thomas Böhm (Ed.): At a short distance. The reading by the authors: original sounds, stories, ideas . Tropen-Verlag, Cologne 2003, ISBN 3-932170-67-9 .
  • Gunter E. Grimm: "Nothing is more disgusting than a so-called poetry reading." German author readings between marketing and self-representation . In: Gunter E. Grimm and Christian Schärf (eds.): Writer productions . Aisthesis, Bielefeld 2008, ISBN 978-3-89528-639-1 .
  • Harun Maye: A Brief History of German Poetry Reading ; in: Sprache und Literatur 43/2 (2012), Issue 110, pp. 38–49.
  • Harun Maye: "Klopstock!". A case history of the poetics of poetry reading in the 18th century . In: Harun Maye, Cornelius Reiber and Nikolaus Wegmann (eds.): Original / Ton. On the media history of the original sound . UVK, Konstanz 2007, ISBN 978-3-89669-446-1 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Author reading  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Friedrich-Bödecker-Kreis: Tasks and goals