Kai Weyand (b. 1968 in Freiburg, Breisgau) taught at Schubs, a Freiburg Orphanage Foundation school that provides special education, and in adult education. From 2001 to 2005 he co-directed the Literaturbüro, a literary centre in Freiburg, with Martin Gülich. Still based in Freiburg, he has been a freelance writer since 2005. In 2006 he took part in the Ingeborg Bachmann literary competition in Klagenfurt, Austria.
Weyand writes fiction. He won 1st prize at the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin’s “Open Mike” in 2002, as well as 1st prize in the Irseer Pegasus competition in 2004. In November 2009 the Deutscher Literaturfonds selected Weyand to be writer-in-residence for ten weeks at Queen Mary University of London.
His works include Am Dienstag stürzen die Neubauten ein (Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen, 2005) and Schiefer eröffnet spanisch (Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen, 2008). His Applaus für Bronikowski was long-listed for the Deutscher Buchpreis for best German-language novel in 2015.
In 2011, the Goethe-Institut China invited Kai Weynand to Nanjing for the one-month literature residency programme „Kulturen in Kontakt – Artists in Residence“.
As part of the project, he took part in the Literary Salon on the theme of “results” organized by the Goethe-Institut China and Nanjing University at Studio Shuyifang (书衣坊). Weyand talked with Chinese writers Ye Zhaoyan (叶兆言), Han Dong (韩东) and Lu Min (鲁敏) about “decency in life, in writing and in politics”.
During the salon, Kai Weyand read from his short story Zehn Sekunden (“Ten Seconds”), in which he contrasts an athlete’s sprint with the long rocky road, full of privations, of a writer’s career. “There are so many writers in Germany,” Weyand says, “probably more than readers, and the earnings are low.” But that’s no reason for him to give up writing, he adds, because “writing helps me go beyond my own boundaries. The rewards are greater than the effort.”
Lu Min depicts fragments from the everyday life of a postman, based on first-hand experience working at the Post Office, in her novel Love Letter to the Postman. Asked what makes a writer successful, she answered, “The present-day pursuit of success undermines our understanding of the fact that you have to produce results first before getting any rewards. Success doesn’t have to mean selling lots of your books.”
Ye Zhaoyan states his opinion in The Price of a Book: it’s impossible for a writer to judge the fair price to be paid for his work. Some writers put a lot of effort and privation into writing a book that ends up on sale maybe for a yuan. Those who really love writing have to learn not just to put up with this unpleasant reality, but to willingly accept it. “Frankly, there’s no point racking your brains over it. You simply have to enjoy the work process. The writing process is a wonderful thing, it gives me satisfaction.”
Han Dong pointed out that “rewards from results” represents a dangerous formula because it’s not a matter of how much you produce, but whether the results are done right.