Call For Entries for the 29th open mike – Competition for Young Literature

The Haus für Poesie, together with the sponsors from the publishing industry named below, is this year presenting the 29th open mike – Competition for Young Literature.

The open mike promotes the next generation of literary talent and offers young writers a stage, brings them into contact with the literary public and enables them to form networks. The open mike supports young talent on a sustained basis and helps them to develop their own unique literary voices. Prize money of EUR 7,500 in total will be shared out for the 29th open mike.

Conditions of entry

1) Entry to the open mike is open to young writers who are under 35 years of age on 8 August 2021 and have neither published a literary book (including e-books) nor signed a contract with a publisher for a book publication.

2) Submissions may be either prose (e.g. short prose, a short story or a self-contained excerpt from a novel) or poetry and must be written in German or translated into German (see No. 3).

The texts must be unpublished, i.e. including publication online, as e-book, in magazines or journals, in anthologies or in publications of any kind, and may not have been successfully submitted for any other competition or fellowship award.

3) Translations into German may be submitted in both genres if the submitting authors are based in the German-speaking countries. The Conditions of Entry under 1) and 2) apply equally to them.


A complete submission includes:

- the manuscript: the length of the submitted texts (prose or poetry, but not both together) should allow for a 15-minute reading. Submissions which are clearly too long or too short will be ruled out of the Competition. The submitted texts should be in A4 format, printed on one side only, with font size 12. The manuscripts should be submitted in duplicate as loose pages (unbound, no clips or staples). Neither the name of the submitting writer nor any other form of identification may appear on the manuscript pages.

- biography and contact details: the entry must be accompanied by the contact details (name, address, telephone number and email address) and the date of birth and a short biography of the entrant. For translations, these must be provided for both the original author and the translator.

Each entrant may only submit one entry. Entries may only be submitted by post; entries by email are unfortunately not possible. Manuscripts will not be returned.

Closing date for entries is 8 July 2021 (date as postmark).


Course of the Competition

1st Round: selection by the reading team An independent team of readers comprising publishers’ readers will select up to 20 texts for the Final from the anonymous entries that have been submitted. The entrants who have been selected will receive a personal invitation in early October 2021. The names of the finalists will also be published on www.haus-fuer-poesie.org.

The travel costs (2nd Class rail) of the invited writers up to EUR 150 will be reimbursed upon presentation of receipts, vouchers and/or invoices. (This does not apply for writers from Berlin.)

The selected texts will be published as an anthology which will be published to coincide with the Competition Final in November.

Entrants who are not selected for the Final will not be notified separately.

2nd Round: Public Final
The Final will be held in the form of a public reading over the weekend of 12 to 14 November in Berlin. Each finalist will have a reading time of exactly 15 minutes to present their texts and win over the jury of three writers as well as the audience.

The jury will select three winners and award prizes together worth EUR 7,500. At least one of the prizes will be for poetry. The jury will decide on how the prize money is shared out. In addition, the taz audience jury will award the audience prize, which will be to have the winning text printed in the Tageszeitung newspaper. The radio station Deutschlandradio Kultur has for years also produced features on the Competition each year.

All open mike finalists will also be invited to a workshop in 2022 in which they will have the opportunity to work with experienced writers and readers in an atmosphere of concentration on their texts and familiarise themselves as much with important aspects of the literature industry as of their own writing.

Other conditions

By submitting their texts, entrants for the open mike agree to the following if their texts are selected for the Final:

– publication of the submitted texts in the Competition anthology. The rights in the text remain with the author or translator, but the text may not be published elsewhere before the Final in November.
– publication of the names and biographies of the finalists
– if applicable the publication of the text during or after the Competition by the Haus für Poesie in its own publications and on its own websites
– audio and video recording of the public reading and the use of the recording by the Haus für Poesie and the media
– the publication of images and audio recordings made within the framework of the Competition and associated events by the Haus für Poesie and the media for purposes of reporting on and publicity for the open mike
– the rights granted apply with no time limit for publication of the text in full or parts thereof
– the authors certify by submitting the text that the texts they are submitting is their own work. The same applies to translations and translators.

Submissions marked "open mike" by 8 July 2021 to:
Haus für Poesie
Knaackstrasse 97 (Kulturbrauerei)
10435 Berlin

The open mike online

Saskia Warzecha

The open mike is an event organised by the Haus für Poesie together with the Stiftung Kommunikationsaufbau (main sponsor), the publishers Berlin Verlag, Blessing Verlag, btb, Verlagsgruppe Droemer Knaur, Edition Korrespondenzen, Haymon Verlag, Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch, kookbooks, Luchterhand, Matthes & Seitz Berlin, Penguin Verlag, Piper, poetenladen, Rowohlt, S. Fischer Verlage, secession, Transistor, Ullstein Buchverlage, Verlagshaus Berlin, Voland & Quist, Wallstein Verlag and Verlag das Wunderhorn and in cooperation with the Heimathafen Neukölln and the Allitera Verlag.


Call For Entries for the 29th open mike – Competition for Young Literature