Swiss Bites. All you need to know about Swiss Literature in the UK, March 2020

Welcome to our first monthly newsletter from Literally Swiss UK.  Swiss Biteswill be a monthly bulletin targeted at the UK book trade – short, sharp, delicious insights into what is hot in Switzerland, what is hot about the Swiss, what is getting the publishers’, readers’, agents’ pulses rising there.  The wonderful annual 12 Swiss Books, produced by the Swiss Arts Council, Pro Helvetia, gives you but a taster of the full array of Swiss talent. Here in the UK we get very excited on a regular basis: it is time to spread the literary love.  

Each month we’ll bring you the latest news of Swiss authors, publishers, books, press and trade opportunities and reactions.  If you decide to follow up on anything then I (Nikki) will also be able to direct you to the Pro Helvetia programme of support for publishers, translators and promotion.  It is the gift that keeps on giving!

Please see below what is of excitement right now, both in Switzerland and here…

Photo of Joseph Incardona by Jean-Blaise Besençon


I met this writer in Switzerland last summer and I rate him highly – his writing, his style, his presence. Considered by many as the contemporary master of noir, Joseph’s latest book was published at the beginning of the year to great acclaim. La Soustraction des Possibles (Editions Finitude) should be noted.

Set in Geneva (where Incardona grew up) this tackles greed, money, and humanity in the Swiss money markets. Timely and brilliant to say the least. What I found have delicious are the comments from the booksellers – along the lines of what they’ve all been waiting for and comments of, ‘Brilliant, is the Book of the Year sorted already?!’ How very Mantel of them. Here in English is a taster for you:

“Incardona enters the golden world of ‘beautiful people’ and deploys a fatal narrative mechanism. This beautiful world is noir, very noir … , the writer a perverse god” – Le Figaro

“We love this” – Elle 

“A ruthless, unforgettable novel” – L’Express

Download MANY more quotes (in French) here

Photo of Simone Lappert by Ayse Yavas


Have seen Simone thrill at both poetry slams and a entourage of publishers. Another strong one. Simone is a genius writer, a genius poet. And her latest novel, Der Sprung was published by Diogenes last autumn, and has also been making waves. 

Shortlisted for the Swiss Book Prize 2019, it garnered comments from the jury such as “The question how we as a society rate empathy, how we treat people who fall out of line, who don’t act according to our norms, runs through the text.”

“Emotions are allowed free rein… [as she] delves deep into the souls of outsiders.  Lappert’s style is completely Swiss – her sensitive and quirky characters remind us of Robert Walser” – Wiesbadener Kurier

The Jump is as exciting and page-turning as it is entertaining and disturbing … With Jump, Simone Lappert throws a stone into the gearbox of the small town Thalbach. She brings to light what most of us would rather leave in the dark” – Book Media

“No other novel in the country has been as exciting in the past twenty years” – Charles Linsmayer, literary critic

For a PDF to download with all the quotes, look to Diogenes.

In February, two Swiss books were published by two superlatively good UK publishers:

Peter Stamm – you will know this titan already – Granta publishes his The Sweet Indifference of the World (trans. Michael Hoffman)

Elisa Shua Dusapin – a debut author in the UK – Daunt Books publishes Winter in Sokcho (trans. Aneesa Abbas Higgins).

That’s all from us. In our April Swiss Bites, expect an update on those fronts, press and plaudits, and more besides. In the meantime, we look forward to virtually seeing you this week.


Category: LS News


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