Swiss Bites. All you need to know about Swiss Literature in the UK, June 2020. Still at home?

Here we are, all at different stages of the easing of lockdown. So go well and keep safe wherever you are:

Bonne chance, faites très attention
Viel Glück, pass auf dich auf
Buona fortuna, stai molto attento


As you will be aware, current circumstances are impacting on the attendance of UK publishers at Frankfurt Book Fair later this year. With this in mind, we want to bring you up to very immediate speed on how Swiss publishers are approaching the Fair. We can share the results of a survey taken among Swiss publishers that came in just last night. 

  • First and foremost, the Swiss Publishers’ Association will definitely have a Swiss stand in Frankfurt. So on display will be the diverse picture of Swiss literature and the publishing scene.
  • Here 21 publishing houses will participate 
  • In mid-July we will have more on specific publishers, the alternatives that will be staged and how. We will update you in the next newsletter. 
  • In the words of Oliver Bolanz (Christoph Merian Verlag), Chairman of the SBVV board: “It will certainly be a very special book fair in the Corona year and the focus at the stand will be on the presentation of new publications. The media attention for those who are there will be great and the momentum for the Christmas business is something we can all use. In addition, SBVV’s participation is also a sign of solidarity with the German Publishers & Booksellers Association Börsenveren, which is responsible for the Book Fair and has already put a lot of energy and heart and soul into the organisation.”

Reality bites but the show must go on, one way or another. And it will. Do not forget that Literally Swiss UK and Pro Helvetia are planning to hold a Swiss Book Fair in London in December. We will keep you posted on the shape that will take.


BCLT (British Centre for Literary Translation) Summer School and (Swiss) French Book Week

Resilience and good form are the name of the game. Last month we told you that the BCLT Summer School and the French translation mentorship, both funded by Pro Helvetia, will run online from 20th-24th July. The BRILLIANT news is that a record number of people applied for this – 65 in total – from which BCLT selected ten. A heartening piece of news for integrating cultures and crossing borders.

Plans are also taking shape for our French Book Week, which will run from 13th-17th July. This will be a virtual showcase for the promotion of French and Swiss-French writing, authors and translators in the UK, with a different thematic focus each day:

  • Swiss-French authors – established and ones to watch
  • French translation
  • French books reviews and recommendations
  • French Poetry
  • Publishing, with ‘Publishers Without Borders’ hosting a Swiss publishing seminar with Swiss publishers from Diogenes, Editions Zoé and Myriam Lang from the Swiss Booksellers’ and Publishers’ Association and a UK publisher counterpart.

We will keep you posted online and via social media: get involved!

Photo of Arno Camenisch by Janosch Abel

More exciting and elegant news: ARNO CAMENISCH

The new novel by Arno Camenisch is out in German with Engeler: Goldene Jahre has garnered an enviable amount of praise. The reviews are all you need to see: “A wonderful story about two women and their life’s work – full of humour, warmth, humility and pride”, and “the author also lovingly devotes himself to marginalized figures in … typical, irresistible Camenisch sound.”

Read all the reviews here and watch the inimitable Arno here.

Photo of Elisa Shua Dusapin by Romain Guélat

And in August: Elisa Shua Dusapin

August will see the publication of the new title by Elisa Shua Dusapin: Vladivostok Circus.  Watch this video on the Editions Zoé website. It has already been previewed by Livres Hebdo as “everything we liked about the previous books: this balance between gravity and lightness, inertia and suspension. … [her writing] gains in strength and amplitude without losing grace and suppleness.” We will keep you posted on how this is received: indications are already positive. A book set in a deserted circus between two peak seasons, the trust between three training players, physical, acrobatic, emotional – what is not to love?!

And in other news:

We’re thrilled to announce that Swisstory, or as its subtitle says, The Untold, Bloody and Absolutely Real History of Switzerland, has won the 2020 International Crystal Kite Award, bestowed by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). The award, which is the only worldwide peer-awarded children’s book prize, has never been won before by a book published in Switzerland.

It looks brilliant: “dukes slaughtered by filthy peasants, innocent “witches” hung up by their necks, buried gold, female mountaineers and, of course, all those murderous cows”, see here.

And talking of murderous cows, the Swiss ones are actually pretty clever.

Keep safe, keep sane,


Category: LS News


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