“…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.
In 2009-2010, Germany’s sales of ebooks were around 1.5 million, representing 0.8% of the German book market. Around two years behind the trends in the US, the market began to expand, at first slowly, then it mushroomed. Industry experts predict that for the year 2014-2015, ebook sales will reach over 60 and will account for 25% of all book sales in Germany. The Woolf talks to editor Susanne Weigand and independent author, blogger and journalist Matthias Matting.
“Just because the technology allows for a function doesn’t mean you should add it to your app.” Eric Huang, Development Director at Made In Me, talks to The Woolf about interactive narratives, gamification and collaboration.
“I don’t think of there being a line between the art and activism, more of an overlap.” Bernie Slater, visual artist, talks to The Woolf about the power of multiples, and the notion of printmaking as a democratic and accessible medium with the power to engender social change.
“You have to be aware that you only play a secondary role as an editor. I read through the manuscript once first, as an outsider.” Editor Allison Lopez talks to the Woolf about editing.
Julia joined A.M.Heath in 2013 as Children’s Agent, after four years building up the UK side of the Greenhouse Literary Agency, and six years at the Darley Anderson Agency where she started the children’s book side of the list. She is always on the treasure hunt for new writing talent and considers the slushpile to be the greatest place on earth.
“When we are growing up, we are in the midst of defining who we are and who we are going to be as we continue on into our lives. Stories that reflect that journey, in all kinds of ways, are incredibly relatable.” Sarah Sullivan and Brianna Stapleton Welch are the blogger-reviewers behind Slatebreakers: ‘finding feminism in Kid Lit and YA’. The Woolf asks them about their feminist lens, and exactly how they manage to get through so many books …
“The elements of location have to be sprinkled through the story with a light hand, serving to shine a light on the narrative and not distracting from it. Huge chunks of location, just like huge chunks of ill-disguised research, serve to pull the reader out of the story and that’s the last thing a writer wants.” The Woolf talks to novelist Charlotte Otter.
“I’d been a writer for 22 years when I self-published my first ebook and, from the off, I just loved it. Not just because the books sold more than they had before but mainly for the way it restored to me something I’d lost by working within corporate structures.” The Woolf talks to Orna Ross, writer, poet, and founder and director of the Alliance of Independent Authors.
“Out came books about hallucinogenic plants, collected during my debauched youth. Dimly remembered information about neurotransmitters wended its way into the story, along with arcane laboratory details about paper chromatography. Easy. More or less.” The Woolf talks with Gabrielle Mathieu, novelist who lives in St. Gallen.
“I perceive something as a piece of art when it deeply intersects and influences the streaming forces shaping society.” The Woolf talks urban narratives and creative concepts with a designer, architect, producer and curator of content: Stefano Massa.
“I often find myself making suggestions on word-choice and smoothing sentences off a little, but large scale structure, characterization and narrative arc are not my areas. I’m the guy who polishes what Stephen King would call your little red wagon before you drive it home.” The Woolf talks to the pros of prose: editors.
“I read with a pencil in hand, to indicate excerpts that I will later use in a workshop. And to underline sentences that are so well written I want to read them over and over again, to taste them as it were and to learn from them.” The Woolf talks to Susan Tiberghien, founder of the Geneva Writers’ Group, and a quiet achiever who lives in Geneva.
“When I was a child my favourite pastime was to stick my head for hours in the old family’s album full of beautiful, old, black-and-white photographs—and wonder who were all those persons that I never got to know.” The Woolf interviews Monica Tarocco, a Zürich-based photographer and visual artist.
“I love talking to writers about their writing. I want to see how they write and what thoughts went behind the material I read. It gives you ideas for different approaches, and different eyes for your own manuscript.” The Woolf talks to Sarah Nickerson about her Zürich writers’ group.
“There’s something great about any book you can’t put down even if it doesn’t contain a single beautiful sentence.” Chris Pavone. The Woolf collates quotes from writers.
“Writing is a socially acceptable form of getting naked in public.” Nuggets of wisdom from Paulo Coelho and other writers.
“There are still two communities. The one side is classic composers who would never write film music, and on the other side there are film composers … which the classic composers think are cheap. But that’s wrong.” The Woolf talks to Ludwig Wicki, co-founder and conductor of the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra.
“I’ve come to realise there isn’t much of a distinction between the different versions of me. When I sit down at my laptop it’s the writer in me that comes out and that writer can take many forms.” The Woolf interviews Barbara Scott Emmett, a writer of the erotic, with many hats.
“I’ve read a lot about book publishing. I follow an author called Seth Godin and I realised that if as an unpublished author I go to a big publishing house, I have no track record. So if I can show some sales and a readership, I might be in a better position to get a deal.” The Woolf talks to Ann Soederblom about her new, independently published book – Coffee Cup Philosophy.