“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.
“On November 9th, the day after the US election, I found myself in Houston. Having finished a speaking engagement at the university, I was visiting a dear friend. In need of solace, we went to the Rothko Chapel—a gathering place for civil rights activists from around the world, and an interfaith sanctuary for contemplation.” – Darcy Alexandra, organiser of the Writers Resist event in Zurich.
“The result is a sobering realisation of how quickly a society can shift from progressive to reactionary, and how much must be done by those who defend the democratic ideal. Most of all, we acknowledge the power of words.” J.J. Marsh pens a response to January’s Writers Resist event in Zürich.
“As much credit as I give the Von Trapp family and all their musical life-coaching, this notion, ‘Nothing comes from nothing’, was around long before Maria and the Captain were serenading each other on the subject.” Lindsey Grant on writing, and starting at the very beginning.
“Cowbells have a constancy, yet they are arrhythmic, a subtle protest against the Swiss clockwork of the cities. It’s a mindful cue to ‘think less in ordinary time’ of lockstep and paced life, of hours and minutes, appointments and regularities.” Caitlin Krause pens a dreamscape that brings us back to the beginnings of time—and ourselves.
“Have you thought about how suspense is created in a book? Or why you become engaged and care about the characters? These are things an author controls and creates quite intentionally.” Catherine Szentkuti and Meredith Wadley-Suter give a round-up of the Fiction and Memoir/Non-Fiction workshops from this Autumn’s WriteCon.