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Doris Mandel: Diary becomes annual project
He still existed in the not too gray past, the town clerk as an officially appointed chronicler and thus as a walking memory of the commune. But the title has long been just a cultural relic - revived to give a representative of the literary guild honor and support in the form of a scholarship - this is also the case in Halle. But the author Doris Mandel, who was presented to the cultural councilor Hans-Jochen Marquardt on Friday as the new city clerk, apparently wants to go back to the roots a bit. At least with regard to the project that she has chosen for her city clerk year. "I have a kind of Halle diary in mind - a journalistic and fictional hybrid form". She wants to choose that of the unemployed as a special perspective.
Doris Mandel is not unfamiliar with this, as it corresponds to her official status. Like the vast majority of writers, Doris Mandel cannot even come close to making a living from her literary production. It is almost impossible to get books to publishers in the normal way, according to Mandel. "I founded my own publishing house out of self-defense," says the woman from Halle. To get hers and a few other books published. Profits are out of the question.
In her literary career, which has now spanned more than 25 years, Doris Mandel has created poetry, children's literature, pieces for theater and music theater, songs and song translations and written a book about transsexuality that also deals with her own life story.
Now the Stadtschreiber-Preis, endowed with 5,100 euros, is intended to give the author some creative calm in the literary struggle for survival. For a while, by the way, it looked as if Mandel's predecessor Christina Seidel Halle should have been Halle's last town clerk. It had already been decided to convert the grant associated with the title into a printing cost grant for a specific book project by a selected author. But not least because of the intervention of the Writers' Association and because some of the previous award winners had set standards in terms of public awareness, the city has now returned to the old rules. "It's the far more worthy solution," comments Marquardt.
Nor does Doris Mandel hide the fact that she values the aspect of recognition of her literary work almost even higher than the financial side of the matter. She also wants to use the year to write a historical novel, the subject of which has preoccupied her for years. It is supposed to play at the end of the 12th century, in the time of the German Emperor Heinrich IV - who initially fended off his ban with his "walk to Canossa" to the Pope, was later banned again and reacted by appointing an antipope.
The material has it all. And it could also meet some of those tough criteria of the literary business that Mandel actually vehemently criticizes. It would be best if only books were produced that can be made into a film or allow multiple sequels. Would such a fate also happen to her novel? - Doris Mandel shrugs her shoulders and smiles.
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