“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.
“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.
“… such a concentration of saturated colours: those alpine meadows with their variety of greens, bright wild flowers, graphite rocky peaks, cerulean blue glaciers.” Zürich-based watercolourist and illustrator Alena Sevastsyanava on seeing the Alps for the first time.
Steve Wheen, multimedia storyteller, talks to the Woolf about the impact of creating tiny storyworlds, the power of imagining, his miniature gardens and his work as The Pothole Gardener, a project that transforms ‘crappy to happy’.
“Calligraphy is a way to press the ‘pause’ button, and go back to this comforting feeling of holding a pen in your hands.” Calligrapher Murielle Doré on calligraphy as meditation, and the relevance of pen and ink in the digital world.
Paul Neale, contemporary artist, discusses red lines and coded environments, fractured figures and distorted bodies, and how pre-existing imagery adds texture to perception.
Switzerland-based Irish poet Padraig Rooney expands on the themes behind The Gilded Chalet, talking con-men and le Carré and the coherence of disparate times.
Zürich-based writer Liam Klenk is in conversation with Susan Platt: his nomadic life, his journey over gender boundaries and the importance of fluidity to a Paralian.
Australian Athens-based writer, editor, designer and musician Jessica Bell walks us through a deeply chameleonic life of words, music and images.
Black comedy, LA-style: organised crime, enchiladas and fruit juice. Zürich-based Daniel Pieracci talks about how NanoWriMo led to his debut novel, Take Your Shot.
From Bondi Beach to the remote Welsh hills, visual artist and entrepreneur Craig Kirkwood discusses his yearning for something lasting and how it led to his recent publication, Aber: a pictorial homage to the Welsh town of Aberystwyth.
Author and Wall Street based financial behaviourist Jacquette M. Timmons talks about how our stories—our past, our context, our attitudes—affect our relationship and our actions with money.
Zürich-based artist Kaye Llewelyn dives into the story behind the making of her picture book, Pocket Money … on serendipity, fluidity, opportunity … and no words.
Award-winning journalist and author Juliana Barbassa talks about writing to understand displacement, Joan Didion, and the experience of relocating to Rio, Brazil, a city in crisis.
Zürich writer, producer and director Samuel Schwarz on the feature film and Alternate Reality Games of Polder, the largest transmedia storytelling project to come out of Switzerland;
“Is this person interesting enough for me to want to spend several months inside their head?” Andrew Crofts talks about Ghostwriting, and the strange symbiosis of writing someone else’s story.
Creativity in Tandem: Pete Morin and Susanne O’Leary are co-authors who’ve never met.
“It seems like I am always on the move, but that’s not always the case.” Martina Bisaz is a Zürich-based scientific illustrator and photographer known for her Instagram collaborations and landscapes. She talks about how she works, and her favourite times of year.
Switzerland’s Creative Commons representative, Phillippe Perreaux, on piracy and obscurity, copyright and the public domain.
Author and New Yorker (and part time Geneva inhabitant) Susan Jane Gilman on plundering life for memoir and fiction, and how to handle the truth.
Zürich based Architect Antonio Scarponi on publishing his book ELIOOO, crowd-funding, and architecture as concrete poetry.
“…Some of the big bombastic milestones were achieved during a time in which I felt very much out of alignment and so I almost dismiss them. When I do something and I feel in alignment, then I feel I’ve succeeded.” Bestselling Australian author, journalist, TV presenter, blogger and media consultant Sarah Wilson talks to The Woolf about the online gift economy, independent and partner publishing, and her writerly habits.
“We draw and paint long before we know there is something called an artist and long before we can explain what it is we are doing and why we are doing it.” Sandra Ondraschek-Norris is a visual artist known for her landscape paintings, at once both confining and infinite; a source of melancholy and possibility. The Woolf asks her about success, and about working with a visual medium—outside the realm of words.
The latest instalment of Notes from the Unexpected finds D.B. Miller feeling the guitar love at Gitarren Total shopfront and workspace in Zürich.
The Woolf talks to The English Bookshop’s manager Sabine Haarmann and Nick Schorp about the history of this Zürich institution, how it has weathered the storms of publishing, and what’s on the horizon.
“First is obsession, second is photography being just a tool.” Photographer Olga Bushkova talks about how photography took over from her former career in science and programming, and on looking for the normal.
“Identity crisis. Check! Laundry lessons in two languages, neither of which I understood. Check! Phone phobia. Check!” Chantal Panozzo on being an American in Switzerland and her new book, Swiss Life.
On post-digital content, and if there’s any such thing as a Zeitgeist … Lausanne-based Erinrose Sullivan is a senior marketing executive and analyst who helps businesses make sense of the digital world. She works as a strategist across various sectors including the telecom, gaming and entertainment industries.
Melinda Nadj Abonji, Adi Blum and Ulrike Ulrich are the initiators of a new writers-in-exile programme for Switzerland. The Woolf talked to Adi Blum, of the Swiss German PEN Centre to learn more.
“My main topic for personal work was the ‘non places’ within the city, areas that groups such as collectives of artists, skateboarders, street runners, organisers of parties and raves, musicians and graffiti writers used to create different experiences. These in-between spaces, whether temporally or spatially defined, act as a magnet for those operating outside of social norms and rules.” The Woolf talks to Berlin-based award-winning photographer Liz Eve.