This will be the last announcement about the Fiction Canteen on Transfiction’s site. We have moved to our own blog page.

We are also on Facebook and Twitter.

Next event will take place in ostPost, Choriner Str. 84, 10119 Berlin.

For our next event we’ve teamed up with ostPost, a new bookshop in Mitte that represents the languages and cultures of Eastern Europe. Our theme this time is East–West.

Submit to us by 21st September 2017 to be one of three readers. Each reading will be followed by a discussion with hosts Lucy and Anton and as much audience feedback as you want. The theme can be interpreted as broadly as you like, and we accept both translations and original works of fiction. Readings should be a maximum of 15 minutes and unpublished works-in-progress. We will address any issues you would like to discuss about your text.

Please send texts to

Entry €3

Please send texts by Thursday 22 June to

Lucy & Anton


I was greatly inspired by the recent Berlin Brit seminar in Berlin (see some impressions here) to rethink and evaluate what we are doing at the Fiction Canteen. I would like regulars and anyone else interested to come and contribute their ideas. Should we make the Canteen more into a workshop, led by a mentor? Should we invite more guest readers? What form should feedback take? Rather than just continuing in a mould, we want to keep developing. The result is that we well be slightly more structured and focussed, and writers/translators will be interviewed by co-host Anton Lang.


Past themes:

December Extravaganza with Best Small Fictions, the Reader and SAND journal:

To kick off the evening we welcomed Best Small Fictions to Berlin. Writer/editor Michelle Elvy from New Zealand  presented the awesome Best Small Fictions 2016 book, which collects last year’s best very short fiction by the likes of Etgar Keret and Amelia Gray.

The theme of the evening was flash fiction so we were particularly interested in Six-Word Stories, twitterature (140 characters), dribble (50 words), drabble (100 words) and sudden fiction (750 words). The Reader Berlin put the audience’s  knowledge of all things book-related to the test with a quiz. There were prizes for the winning team (a free dinner, to mention just one)


21 September 2016: Literary Voice. There seems to be no guaranteed technique for creating one. As Louis Menand once said in “The New Yorker”, “You can set the stage as elaborately as you like, but either the phantom appears or it doesn’t.”

Thursday 14 July: What to do when you’re stuck in the second, third or fourth draft. How do you plan your writing? And how do you know when a piece of writing is finished?

Thursday 12 May: How much detail is necessary to make a novel or story jump off the page? To make your readers suspend disbelief and enter the world you have created? How writers deal with historical detail.

Thursday 10 March: Focus on spoken word with guest spoken word poet, Linda Gabriel. Following her performance, we had a panel discussion about her work, and encouraged other spoken word poets to perform. Linda joined in our regulars in giving feedback. See some impressions here.

Thursday 14 January, “What is there so much hype surrounding some contemporary authors?” in which we talked about Karl-Ove Knausgaard and Elena Ferrante as examples.


Bring new members and spread the word!

In our space at the Alte Kantine Wedding, we encourage writers in English to come to our Open Mike event every two months and “test-drive” a piece of their creative writing in front of a supportive audience. There is a mini-presentation on an aspect of writing to kick off.

The Fiction Canteen stands for a space to risk the new: to share ideas, be inspired by others’ work, overcome writer’s block, and network with other writers and literary translators. The readings should be in English but anyone is welcome to come.

To be added to our mailing list, send us an email.

You can also find out about our past events by looking at our Facebook page or reading the blog.

The event takes the following format:

8 readers (on a first come, first served basis) will read a 5-minute piece of prose, poetry or translation. It has to be your own work. Drinks are on sale at the Alte Kantine bar.


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Open Mike: Bring a text – poetry, prose, or an excerpt from you novel in progress. Translations into English welcome. The rules: turn up at 8pm, take a number, read for 5 minutes, then mingle afterwards and have a drink! The event is in English.

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The Fiction Canteen is currently in exile at the Platzhaus on Teutoburger Platz, 10119 Berlin.


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FictionCanteenWe were so busy that we forgot to announce the last Fiction Canteen on our blog. So this is a post-event piece, also nicely summarised here by a guest who came at the last minute. Her verdict: it’s worth getting out of the house and coming to the Alte Kantine Wedding even if it’s raining and cold in November. Or especially then. Alexandra Romano, the lady behind the Alte Kantine, has done a great job of making the bar area seem like a home from home. “Mixed dried verbs” was the motto the last time – a phrase coined by Tobias and Rosa (who designed our Fiction Canteen logo) from futuromarx on our lovely postcard (on the left).

Each time we do the Open Mike, it’s rather like Christmas: none of the texts have been seen by us beforehand. So there’s an element of risk and adrenaline in the air. But this is balanced out by the supportive crowd in the Kantine’s welcoming atmosphere. Literally (or literarily) anything could happen. Some things are a learning curve, which is a nice way of saying that we have to tighten some of the rules. The timing rule had to be tightened after the first event: a system of hand signals and a bell was introduced to stop anyone going over the 5-minute rule. A second rule for the next event will be: “no shouting unexpectedly into the mike”. But apart from that, anything goes.

You get a number if you arrive in time – eight readers are selected on a first come, first served basis, and the doors open at 8pm.

The Fiction Canteen has some things in common with Ambigú and Krautfilm, the theatre and film events that take place at the Alte Kantine. Namely, that there is some experimentation involved. Ambigú, run by Franziska Muche and & co every last Thursday in the month, features a ‘Kaltstartlesung’ or first public reading of a new theatre play by a young dramatist. Krautfilm, organised by Falko Seidel & co, showcases new films by young filmmakers. There is popcorn too.

Similarly, in the Fiction Canteen, we are not looking for polished performances and perfect prose; rather, for new voices. We can imagine doing an Open Mike for the under-13s, for example. It’s a format that can expand and grow. Things are still cooking.

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