Swiss Bites at Home. All you need to know about Swiss Literature in the UK, April 2020

Well troops, here we are. At home, being wise. These are unprecedented times: first things first, keep safe, keep sane.

Although we are never ones to be restricted by circumstances, the London Book Fair was cancelled, so we leapt into action and held the Virtual London Book Fair with our Swiss colleagues – and a splendid array of virtual meetings with publishers, editors and translators were held from both London and Zurich. For anyone who was unable to make a meeting but would now like to do so, please get in touch. No-one is going anywhere, and we would LOVE to see you!

It will come as no surprise that Switzerland is in the similar throes of restrictions, distancing and isolation than, well, the rest of the world. Action has been taken by the Swiss government with the emergency ‘Solidarity funding for the arts’. You can find more information on this on Pro Helvetia’s Covid-19 info hub here. Furthermore, Pro Helvetia director Philippe Bischof sends out a monthly newsletter to inform on all things Swiss culture in the time of Corona. Have a look at the April issue entitled “Moving Ahead with Determination” – a motto we can only support!

Even though we’re still mid-crisis, our colleagues at Pro Helvetia are thinking about a post-corona future already. In times such as these, we all need to find the silver lining! As you will be aware, festivals and booksellers in the UK as in Switzerland are unable to hold their usual physical events. Cultural life in public is frozen. To react to this situation, Pro Helvetia has launched the call “Close Distance: Seeking New Cultural Formats”. It is a call for projects encompassing all disciplines that are supported by Pro Helvetia and which looks for projects that initiate or intensify new formats under the current conditions of restricted mobility. This might be the chance to start that collaboration with a Swiss festival, or that helveto-british publisher’s platform, or that translation think tank you’ve been thinking about for so long!

Until the world is back to normal, WHAT BETTER than to use the time to read more from our splendid Swiss writers, their books, their journalism.   Dive in!

  • For the German readers out there, Swiss writers Peter Stamm and Dorothee Elmiger are writing daily Coronavirus diaries for an insight into Swiss daily life in these strange times.  
  • How many Swiss books will you read with this gift of stasis and time in 2020?
  • May we suggest Katharina Geiser’s UNDER OPEN SKIES, just featured in New Books in German?
  • Or Peter Beck’s DAMNATION translated by Jamie Bulloch, published by OneWorld- the first focus title of the Swiss EmbassyUK’s newly conceived Swiss literature book club? Watch Peter Beck’s first video here.
  • Or Joseph Incardona who was mentioned in our last newsletter?

Let us know and post away on the @LiterallySwiss social media, where you will find further suggestions under the hashtag #SwissBookWeek.

Last month I promised you an update on reviews for WINTER IN SOKCHO by Elisa Shua Dusapin, translated by Aneesa Abbas Higgins, published by Daunt Books, well here they are …

The Guardian
‘Dusapin’s terse sentences are at times staggeringly beautiful, their immediacy sharply and precisely rendered from French by Aneesa Abbas Higgins … Oiled with a brooding tension that never dissipates or resolves, Winter in Sokcho is a noirish cold sweat of a book.’

The Irish Times
‘Enigmatic, beguiling … This finely crafted debut explores topics of identity and heredity in compelling fashion. In its aimless, outsider protagonist there are echoes of Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman.’

The i 
‘Crisp and poetic.’

Daily Mail
‘Quietly haunting debut…a graceful slow drift of a novel.’

That’s all from us.  
SO SERIOUSLY, keep safe, keep sane, and until next month, enjoy these Swiss Bites at Home!

HUGEST HURRAHS UNTIL NEXT TIME!

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