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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 April, 2003, 10:34 GMT 11:34 UK
Authors plan 'fastest' book
Writing the world's fastest novel
Each author has to write two pages in two hours
Forty German authors are hoping to set a record on World Book Day on Wednesday by conceiving, writing and printing a book in 12 hours.

Each of the authors has two hours in which to write two pages of the book.

Organisers say they are not trying to make a bestseller, but instead show that literature can be more accessible.

The Stiftung Lesen, a foundation based in the German city of Mainz, is organising the attempt.

The foundation's Gaby Hohm said: "We do all sorts of crazy things to bring the book to the people and the people to the book. So this is an idea to make the 'fastest' book in the world to catch the interest of the public.

"Once you've got an interest you might find readers again," she said.

One of the authors involved in the project is Norbert Kron, who started work on his contribution on Wednesday morning.

"The topic is speed, that's an ironic situation. We have the fastest book in the world but literature is normally a very slow medium," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

He said he was sure he could come up with a contribution in two hours, but that the situation was an unusual one for a writer.

'Literary experiment'

"Now it feels like I'm at school again, and I get the subject from a teacher for an essay, and that's normally not the situation you have in literature."

He said he was ambivalent about the project at first but then decided it was "a literary experiment that you can do once".

"It will never feel like this again. I'm really nervous now. It's like school, but the good thing is we are not getting marks in the end."

After the authors have finished their writing, the contributions will be subbed by editors and then sent to the publishers.

Organisers hope to have 1,000 copies printed before the 12 hours is up, and a party is planned to celebrate the record attempt.

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