The open mike is the most important German-language competition for young poets and prose writers. It supports young authors from the beginning of their writing careers to beyond their first publication. The careers of many important authors began with the open mike, such as Karen Duve, Julia Franck, Terézia Mora, Kathrin Röggla, Ulf Stolterfoht, Judith Zander, Martin Piekar, Ralph Tharayil and Ronya Othmann. The competition has been held annually since 1993.
The open mike is open to German-speaking authors who are no older than 35 and have not yet published a book of their own. Poetry or prose can be submitted. From the anonymous texts, editors will select a maximum of 22 participants who will be invited to the two-day public reading of the open mike final in Berlin in November.
The open mike final is a fixed annual date for a literature-loving audience and publishers, editors, agents and media looking for literary talent. All finalists have 15 minutes each during the reading to convince jury and audience. The jury of three authors (in recent years, for example, Feridun Zaimoglu, Terezia Mora, Marcel Beyer or Zsuzsanna Gahse) can choose up to three winners and awards prizes totaling 7,500 euros. At least one of the prizes is awarded for poetry. In addition, there is the taz Prize of the audience jury, which is linked to a print of the winning text in the daily newspaper. In addition, Deutschlandradio Kultur will produce a feature about the open mike weekend and the winners. The open mike texts will be published in an anthology to accompany the competition.
However, the open mike is more than just a competition: it promotes and supports young authors far beyond the competition itself. For example, in addition to readings every spring, all finalists from the previous year take part in a writing workshop lasting several days, where they can work on their texts with experienced authors and editors. In addition, finalists from the last five years of the competition can take part in the annual workshop courses that take place prior to the competition.