Sentinel Poetry (Online) Magazine Monthly...Since December 2002   ISSN 1479-425X
JUNE 2003, ISSUE #7

Nnorom Azuonye

But there is a more important aspect to this question: Today most of the competitions in Switzerland, Germany or Austria are funded by the governments or by foundations and sponsors. In doing so they take on responsibility for the cultural development of a country. Recently pay-to-enter competitions have also come up in the German-speaking area. Therefore the responsibility for cultural development is slowly returned to the authors themselves. Society retreats and the circle of authors is self-centred and has to provide for itself.

That is of course critical, not only financially: the cultural and intellectual significance of literature would no longer be appreciated by the state, foundations and the economy and may even be forgotten. If pay-to-enter competitions became the norm in the German-speaking literary scene then this would be a step backwards.

These entry fees eventually lead to a two-class literary scene: only those who have enough money can establish themselves in literary business. To give a quick summary: pay-to-enter competitions only promote the self-exploitation of authors and therefore I would not say that they promote literature at all but destroy it.

NA: Roman, it has been a nice chat. As I get to read more of your work in English and follow your writing career, I hope that not too long from now, we will talk again. Thank you very much for this conversation.

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My eConversation with Roman Graf, continued from
previous page.