Almost 30 years have passed since the Styrian author Fritz Krenn took up the Bachmann Prize in 1992. At that time he received the 3sat prize for his story “Das Holz”. The topic of his lecture, of all things, is responsible for the renewed application. His recently completed book “My Readings” is about events “that are not what one imagined them to be”. He reads one of the bizarre texts from it in the competition that starts on Wednesday.
This year’s competition, to which he was invited by Klaus Kastberger, is probably a little different than hoped: Krenn finds it a shame that the social gathering around the reading competition cannot be enjoyed this year due to the Corona situation. Nevertheless, he hopes to be able to convince with his text. After all, not only is the volume “Meine Lesungen” finished in the drawer, a novel that he has been working on for a long time is also about three-quarters ready. In addition, his piece “Karl und Aloisia Krasser”, published by Suhrkamp Verlag in 2013, is still awaiting its world premiere.
“If I succeed in the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, it would be a fortunate coincidence, subsequently also for my other work”, Krenn is convinced in an interview with the APA. “I’m sure: the moment will come when the piece shines brightly on a stage through all its facets.” Back then, in 1992, it was “downright unbelievable” that he was one of the 21 participants at the time to be awarded one of the four prizes without having previously published a book or having a connection to a publisher.
“Back then there were just as important critics as there are today, only there were eleven who, with the highest Germanic brilliance and the finest semantic skill, were able to ennoble a text to the max, or just another story in the depths of the Carinthian ORF -Theater to sink, “says Krenn. The fact that the calculation is not a good advisor in this profession is one of the reasons why he never dared to take the step towards complete independence. After rejecting a radio play, he resolved never to depend on the opinion of individuals. So he continued to work as a bank clerk over the time – also due to social obligations.
“The further I go in my life, the more beautiful, tender and touched the stories become,” says the 63-year-old with certainty. Postscript: “That is also the life experience.” So far he has been able to collect enough literary material. In 1986 his play “Die Pacht” was premiered in Graz, in 1997 the story “Cramer” was published by Deuticke, in the same year the Styria Verlag published the anthology “Alles Stille”, in 2000 the novel “Goldes” followed by Residenz-Verlag. Fritz Krenn is at home in a region with this name near Großklein.
He feels very connected to Ingeborg Bachmann – just like Max Frisch and other authors of the time. He described her novel “Malina” as an “absolute reading experience”. The work left an “unimaginable impression” on him. “I have a close relationship with this woman,” said Krenn, who started writing as a child. At the funeral of his grandmother, he promised her as a nine-year-old: “We will see each other again.”
It then took about ten years before he put the award-winning text “The Agreement” on paper. “There I was so close to my soul, absolutely close, and felt what it means when one approaches these feelings of sadness, happiness, love and hope by writing.” How he has approached bizarre reading experiences over the past decades can then be explored at the Bachmann Prize.