The Swiss Riveter: Introduction by West Camel

Swiss literature is rich — in variety, in quality and, of course, in the diversity of the languages it is written in.

It is this richness that we want to represent and celebrate in this edition of The Riveter, giving space to literature written in all of Switzerland’s official languages. In pursuit of this aim, we have enlisted the views of experts in Swiss writing. Translator Jamie Bulloch ponders literature written in the country’s biggest language, Swiss German, while crime writer Nicolas Verdan discusses the current state of Swiss-French writing. We also have Professor Alan Robinson examining the relationships between Swiss-French and Swiss-German literature and that written in France and Germany. In terms of the smaller languages, poet Vanni Biaconi offers a view on the state of Swiss-Italian writing, and Professor in Romansh, Rico Franc Valär, offers an overview of writing in the various forms of that language.

We’re honoured to have extracts from work published in English by eminent Swiss writers from all backgrounds: Monique Schwitter, Michelle Steinbeck, Nicolas Verdan, Pedro Lenz and Arno Camenisch. More treats are in store in the form of extracts from writing yet to find an English publisher, among them work by Michael Fehr, Elisa Shua Dusapin, Aude Seigne and Jens Nielsen.

We have poetry too, from the great Nora Gomringer, Leta Semadeni, Pierre Voélin and Fabio Pusterla.

Yet more writers provide interesting views on aspects of Swiss culture: Melinda Nadj Abonji writes about the immigrant experience in Switzerland; Xiaolu Guo shares her thoughts on the Swiss book everyone knows – Heidi – and the quintessential British-Swiss writer Alain de Botton discusses Zurich.

And, as always in The Riveter, we offer you some Riveting Reviews – views from talented critics on Swiss books in English that you can find in bookstores now.

This feast of Swiss literature is headed up by a world exclusive: an extract from the new novel – not published in English until autumn 2019 – by Peter Stamm. Our thanks to the author, his translator and publisher for allowing us to give you this very special piece.

Thanks indeed to all our contributors – the authors, translators and publishers, the reviewers and writers, the cover designer, Amélie Keller, and to both the Swiss and English Arts Councils, whose support has made this magazine possible.

By West Camel

Category: December 2018 - The Swiss RiveterReviews

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