One is a CROWD – Martin Jankowski

Literature as a European mother tongue: In our series “One is a CROWD”, we introduce you to authors from all over Europe who will be involved in the CROWD omnibus reading tour, taking place from May to July 2016, featuring 100 authors who will be travelling through 15 European countries. We asked them three questions about text production, reception and mediation. In case you were wondering what a literary activist in Berlin looks like, meet Martin Jankowski! 

“To give a text an Author is to impose a limit on that text, to furnish it with a final signified, to close the writing” (Roland Barthes) – Do you see yourself as an author and do you agree with this?

I am an author and I agree with that. To shape a text and to seal it with a certain style makes good literature and great authors. And after the last page comes a new book. There is an end of the book but no end of literature.

Do you like readers’ comments and feedback to your texts? What could be the consequences of a social editing?

Sometimes I like readers’ comments, sometimes not… I mistrust authors who claim that they do not care about the readers at all. But I also mistrust readers who just take their own understanding and horizon as a measure of quality.

For the consequences of a social editing we have a saying (in Germany) “Viele Köche verderben den Brei!”, meaning: “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” Social editing (as I imagine it) might be good for text of public understanding and political communication but not for literature as an art. (Creating art is not a democratic act.)

What is your favorite literary spot in …? (literary venue, bar, meeting spot etc.) Please give us a link to the website of the spot)

My favorite literary venue in Berlin is the little “Theater o.N.” in my home district Prenzlauer Berg. In the day time it usually is a kind of living room theatre for small children, but once or twice a month in the evening it turns into a cozy literary salon with a wonderful atmosphere for reading, listening and discussing literature. It also has a nice little cellar with a bar.

Photo © berliner literarische aktion!

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