Thursday, 5 July 2018

Clemens J. Setz

The new shooting star of German Literatur presents his latest book. Who wrote it? The Austrian writer says it wasn't him. An eerie pleasure!


Imagine you’re a famous writer and are asked to give an extensive interview. You’re expected to disclose information about your interests and intellectual preferences, about the premises and backgrounds, the motifs and topics of your large body of work. Imagine not being able to think of anything to say, nothing whatsoever, try as you might. Well, someone else has to talk about you then. But who is the right person for the job? Who possesses enough information about you and your books? In the case of writer Clemens J. Setz, there was an alternative.

But in his case, it’s not an actual person answering questions and providing information, but a kind of artificial intelligence, his digital diary comprising millions of characters – the outsourced soul of the author, in other words: a Clemens-Setz-Bot. And all the things the interviewee was unable to verbalize during the conversation are revealed in surprising candour by the work itself, completely detached from its author.

"When are we dealing with people, and when are we dealing with machines? This is the primary question of innumerable science-fiction fantasies. And this is the explicit point of departure for the new book from Clemens J. Setz. […]. Generally bizarre, […] always surprising, often touching. […] reading it may even bring you to tears." Die Zeit


The Austrian writer Clemens J. Setz is widely considered as the new shooting star of German Literature: "As evil as Nabokov, as virtuosic as David Foster Wallace.“ (Welt am Sonntag) , "One of the highest hopes of German literature.“ (FAZ). He was awarded the Ernst-Willner-Preis (2008), the Bremer Literaturpreis (2010), and the Outstanding Artist Award (2010). His novel Die Frequenzen was shortlisted for the German Book Prize in 2009.


The event is held in German.


Foto: © Max Zerrahn / Suhrkamp Verlag