Bestselling author Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre has presented his new novel in Berlin. On Wednesday evening, the 48-year-old read while smoking on stage in the Berliner Ensemble from the fictional work “Still awake?” before. According to the theater, around 640 tickets were sold out.

Numerous journalists and celebrities were in the audience, including actress Katja Riemann and director Sönke Wortmann. The publicist Michel Friedman also came and told the German Press Agency before the reading that he had come as an interested reader of novels.

Speculations about roman clef

On Wednesday, the eagerly awaited novel “Still awake?” published. In a “Spiegel” interview published on the same day, Stuckrad-Barre denied that – as previously speculated in media reports – it could be a roman à clef about the Axel Springer media company.

Writer von Stuckrad-Barre said when asked by the “Spiegel” interviewer whether he had written a roman a clef about the publisher (“Bild”, “Welt”): “Roman roman a clef? Absolutely not. What an unpleasant thing that is Word, what does that even mean? When it comes to “roman a clef” everyone thinks of the wrong door.”

“Still awake?” is the name of the fictional work with 370 pages. Stuckrad-Barre is known for books like “Soloalbum” and “Panikherz”. The book begins by emphasizing that it is “in part inspired by various real events”. The novel is “however, a detached and independent fictional story”. The author “created a completely independent new work”.

“So many imaginary characters in this book”

During the roughly two-hour premiere reading, the 48-year-old once again emphasized the fictitious nature of his work and said, for example: “There are so many imaginary people in this book – it’s unbelievable.” The author appeared on stage in a striped shirt and white pants to the music of “Out of the Dark” by Falco.

In the first chapter, an emerging relationship of trust between a trainee and the editor-in-chief of a TV station is described. The author sketches how the young woman feels flattered by the approval and attention of her boss. They have lunch together in his office and then make an appointment for the evening.

In one of the earlier chapters, a friend (they are “practically brothers”) of the narrator, who owns a television station, also appears. While driving in the western United States, the narrator in the car tells this friend about news that he considers problematic. The station’s editor-in-chief sent these messages to a younger employee. The first-person narrator clearly expresses his aversion to the editor-in-chief.

The book publisher Kiepenheuer