“Why is Switzerland such fertile ground for storytellers?” J.J. Marsh talks to Rosie Goldsmith about Literally Swiss, a ‘cabaret of Swiss writers’ event in London.
“That night […] as some of ‘our’ refugees were coming to the Austrian border, we heard that Germany was closing the border to Austria. This was the beginning of the end of Schengen, Europe and everything we had hoped for as young students studying European law. What have we achieved since that night? What has split the world into two camps of supporters and opponents? What triggered all that hate? And why did I close my heart again after it had been ripped open so badly?” —Angie Weinberger
“But what use is this concern? It is choking. It is debilitating. It feeds a bright futile flame that burns no-one but me. I hate to tell you folks, but I do not feel on the winning side of anything right now with all my precious concern. And I know you feel it too, or you wouldn’t be here. You feel that concern, you live with it, you know its crushing weight.” Clare O’Dea
“My mission is to reconcile the past in the present through the power of photography.” Visual artist Undine Groeger talks walls, belonging, national identity and art.
“D-Day is the day the client disappears. I discreetly get them out of the home city, making sure no one has followed us.” The mysterious Frank Ahearn, who can make you disappear.
“I think part of the current love affair with history is down to the world we live in now. Our lives are fast, instant, and you are never out of touch. Transport flies us around the globe in hours, communication is constant, and news stories all come at us faster than we can consume them. Speed and instant gratification have become our holy grail.” David Penny speaks with J.J. Marsh.
“Miedinger got to work. Following his brief, he designed a sans serif font entitled ‘Neue Haas Grotesk’. It worked. Understated, functional, compact and neutral, it was the essence of Swiss modernity.” Sixty years on, J.J. Marsh celebrates Helvetica font.
“I want to understand human beings, what makes them who they are and why they do the things they do. Before I put pen to paper, I spend a long time getting to know my characters.” Geneva-based author Anne Korkeakivi on novels and writing style, the question of identity, cultural adaptation and withstanding the waves of contemporary politics.
“My own time in the military was in the 1980s when our main threat was that of the Soviets pouring over the East German frontier.” Alison Morton talks about her historical fiction, and Roma Nova, an imaginary remnant of the Roman Empire where she sets her six novels, in which the women largely hold power.
“Yet write he did. At some point in his thirties, cramps in his hands had made writing painful. He interpreted this as a psychosomatic rejection of the pen and turned instead to the pencil. This changed his output from wry and witty tales to wanderings through the landscape of the mind.” J.J. Marsh on beloved Swiss writer Robert Walser.