Festival Portrait


HIGH-CALIBRE LITERARY EVENTS IN A UNIQUE AMBIANCE

The „most beautiful literature festival in Switzerland“ (Tages-Anzeiger) is taking place since 2013 in the Old Botanical Garden – an idyllic oasis in the center of the old part of Zurich. The magical ambiance in the park und the outstanding program with the topstars of the international literary scene give the festival its particular charm and appeal.

FESTIVAL FOR READERS & NONREADERS

With different event formats the festival creates the opportunity for exciting discussions on literature and close encounters with internationally renowned authors. Particularly on a mild summer night, the visit of the festival is a unique and unforgettable experience. Our aim is it not only to make the avid readers and book lovers happy, but also to inspire those people for literature that otherwise hardly ever read a book.

PREMIERES & EXCLUSIVE APPEARANCES

The program consists of premieres, performances, talks and readings with renowned international authors and no less exciting newcomers. Class instead of mass – in the sense of this motto our international authors are often being flown in for a sole and exclusive appearance in Zurich. Usually the invited authors present a new program or work that they have especially developed or adapted for the festival.

INTERNATIONAL STARS

The festival has gained an international reputation. The list of renowned and critically acclaimed authors that have appeared here is long  – including some that very rarely participate in public events:

John M. Coetzee (SA), Junot Diaz (USA), David Mitchell (UK), Sofi Oksanen (FIN), Peter Sloterdijk (DEU), John Cleese (UK), Margriet de Moor (NL), Judith Hermann (D), Viktor Jerofejew (RU), John Banville (IRL), Sven Regener (DEU), Irvine Welsh (UK), Gerhard Polt (DEU), Teju Cole (USA), Carolin Emcke (DEU), Wilhelm Genazino (D), Roger Willemsen (D), Anthony McCarten (NZL), and many more. 

POSITIVE EFFECT AGAINST "SUMMER SLUMP BLUES"

The festival established itself quickly as a fixed event in the cultural landscape of Zurich: In 2017 we celebrate the five years anniversary of the festival. It sets the literary highlight of the summer and sustainably helps fight the first signs of summer slump blues.

ALSO BEAUTIFUL IF THE WEATHER IS BAD

If the weather is bad or unstable, the events take place indoors in the tastefully renovated historic halls of Kaufleuten (Klubsaal, built 1915; Festsaal, built in the 20ies).

LOCAL ANCHORAGE

The festival is co-curated and presented by the two most important institutions for literary events in Zurich – the Literaturhaus and Kaufleuten. Both directors of these institutions are personally participating in the curatorial process of the festival.  In addition, there are project-based cooperations with changing institutions and groups of the independent arts scene (such as Völkerkundemuseum, IOIC, index, CDZ Company of Dancers Zurich).

POETIC OVERALL EXPERIENCE

It is our aim that the various artistic and curatorial elements of the festival merge into a poetic overall experience for the audience. This includes not only the scenographic design of the festival grounds, but also a carefully curated and convincing programme, in which the individual events refer to each other and form synergies. In addition, we present new formats and alternative forms of staging literature that result from the interplay of different disciplines, e.g. poetic installations, artistic performances, scenic readings, interactive radio plays, intervention exhibitions, silent movie screenings or projects between text, dance and theatre.

HIGHLY POSITIVE RESPONSES BY PRESS AND AUDIENCE LIKEWISE

Not only the visitors, but also the authors and speakers are enchanted by the special ambiance in the Old Botanical Garden and appear unusually approachable. Even Hollywood star John Cleese insisted on signing his books for more than an hour after the reading.

The reports and reactions in the press are equally enthusiastic. There have been highly positive previews and reviews of the festival in numerous newspapers and magazines. Some of our events were even broadcasted live by online media.