Tag Archives: Switzerland

To sing of one origin

Times_Literary_Supplement_logoNOBODY understood the power of boundaries better than Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz (1878–1947). A Swiss writer who had to go to Paris to find his voice, he returned to his native canton of Vaud during the First World War to create a distinctively French-Swiss body of literature. He was loyal to his patrie but his patrie was not Switzerland. It was his village, at most his canton – the people who shared his language and who sprang from the same soil as him. From his home on the north shore of Lake Geneva he looked across the water at the French Alps, a reminder that boundaries are where both creation and destruction happen; where opposing forces clash and new forms are born out of the old…

This article first appeared in The Times Literary Supplement on 21 August 2015.

To sing of one origin

portrait_cf_ramuz_03

Swiss canton braces for tsunami

 

page11-nature_logoTHE land of chocolate and clocks could soon be known for something quite different: tsunamis. Authorities in Nidwalden, a canton in landlocked Switzerland, are factoring the risk of a tsunami in Lake Lucerne into their hazard plans. It is the first official acknowledgement of such a threat in Europe’s Alpine region — and comes in step with findings that the risk of tsunamis in the area, which is home to around 13 million people, is much higher than previously thought…

This article was first published in Nature on 4 September 2014. To continue reading, click here.

view-of-riggie-mountain-meadows-and-lake-lucerne

 

Le Livre sur les quais

The Morges literary festival is this year playing host to anglophone writers Val McDermid, Andy McNab, Louise Doughty and Martin Sixsmith – of Philomena fame – among others. I’ll be one of the lucky animatrices asking the questions. This festival just goes from strength to strength. The lakefront at Morges is a fabulous place to be when the sun is shining, which may be one reason why writers like to stop there come the rentrée. It runs over the weekend of 5-7 September and the programme is here. Entry is free.

 

Rue Centrale in English

Rue Centrale: portrait of a European city is now out in English from Editions L’Age d’Homme.

spinney_couv_e-2Lausanne is a cosmopolitan city located at the heart of Europe. Viewing it as a microcosm of the continent as a whole, Laura Spinney goes out to meet its inhabitants. The result is a portrait of a European city painted in the words of the people who live and work there. Encountered in the street, in their bedroom, on a barge or in the belfry of the cathedral, 68 individuals talk about their hopes, their fears and their daily lives. Bankers, prostitutes, illegal immigrants, pillars of the community… Word by word, from the grassroots up, they build a city in Europe at the beginning of the 21st century.

Rue Centrale is available from Payot, Lausanne’s English bookshop Books Books Books, the three kiosks of Lausanne Tourisme and online on the L’Age d’Homme webpage.

Glacier prayer

titlepieceYOU’VE got to hand it to the Catholic church, sometimes its methods work. In 1678, the inhabitants of Fiesch in the Swiss canton of Valais, exasperated with the glaciers that loomed ever larger over their village, swallowing up their pasturage, inaugurated an annual pilgrimage. The hope was to banish the ice forms with chants, prayers and holy water. Several centuries later, their prayers appeared to have been answered…

This article was first published in the Guardian on 29 July 2012. To continue reading click here.

Aletsch Glacier
Aletsch Glacier