Fiction_Canteen

©futuromarx

Where: Alte Kantine Wedding

When: 19:30

Next date: 7 December 2016

Theme: December Extravaganza

Come and celebrate with us on Wednesday December 7th, when the Fiction Canteen – Berlin’s open mike night for literary works in progress – will be joined by friends SAND Journal, The Reader Berlin and Best Small Fictions. It’ll be the only literary Christmas party to be seen this year, and a wonderful chance to spend the evening raising a toast or two among Berlin’s readers and writers.

To kick off the evening at 8pm, we’re welcoming Best Small Fictions to Berlin. Writer/editor Michelle Elvy will be in town from New Zealand to present 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.

Then we invite you to come up to the mike and share your own short fictions. The theme of the evening is flash fiction so we are particularly interested in Six-Word Stories, twitterature (140 characters), dribble (50 words), drabble (100 words) and sudden fiction (750 words). There will be a maximum of 8 readers, and slots are allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Moving on, between 9pm and 10pm, The Reader Berlin will be putting your knowledge of all things book-related to the test with a quiz. There will be prizes for the winning team (and if you’re coming on your own, we’ll find you a team), not to mention much gnashing of teeth and tearing out of hair. And groaning.

From 10pm onwards, music and dancing and drinking.

Our Open Mike format: a mini-lecture and open discussion followed by a maximum of 8 texts by 8 readers who can read for 5 minutes. Feedback in given in the group. Ideally, the texts read should be thematically linked to our mini-lecture. Everyone is invited to participate in the discussion.

 

Past themes:

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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PREVIOUS FICTION CANTEEN EVENT: 17 Sept 2015 from 8pm

ALTE KANTINE WEDDING

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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PREVIOUS FICTION CANTEEN EVENT: 6 May 2015 from 8pm

PLATZHAUS am TEUTOBURGER PLATZ

 

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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