“The more I step out into nature, the more poetry reveals itself. Getting outside is a necessity, like breathing, and essential for me to keep going forward with my writing and to be well-balanced. I do not feel that humanity and nature are separate but intrinsically connected, and this belief is reflected in my poems.” Zurich-based poet TAK Erzinger on how poetry has changed her life.
“The spark for this particular book was a simple parental duty from many years ago—giving my young son a shower. Both of us dreaded that activity so much that we spent countless hours discussing ideas for a five-second shower machine. While the Bath-o-Miser, as we had named it, never materialised, this book did.” Zürich based writer Brijesh Luthra on how he got the idea for his latest book.
“If you’ve read The Shining, you will see glimpses of King’s struggles in his protagonist. Jack was once an alcoholic. Jack also flew into violent rages when drunk, once so badly that he cracked his son’s arm in two. The Overlook is supposed to be where Jack will prove that he’s a changed man—a place of redemption. The hotel, however, has other plans.” Tess Mangiardi unmasks a cult classic: Stephen King’s ‘The Shining’.
“Why would a writer want to keep information masked or hidden? Some answers include mystery, tension, pacing, and above all, to make the reader want to keep reading. Choosing the right POV can help us do all these things.” Jim Rushing adds his thoughts on POV to the Writers’ Toolbox.
“From afar, the snow-covered mountains present this beautiful, serene panorama, but up close they are unforgiving and dangerous. I have a deep respect for these dangers—especially avalanches. At the same time, I find it amazing that something as small and insubstantial as snowflakes can become terrifying forces of nature.” —Debut novelist H.S. Norup
“One day, when I was living in Singapore, I saw a performance of Bian Lian—Chinese opera—with a dancer who wears many masks, changing them by sleight of hand so that the audience can’t see how it’s done. This so perfectly captured Ed that I put the dancer into the novel.” Jo Furniss on her latest novel, The Trailing Spouse.
“Aim: Silence the inner editor and let your imagination out. Start writing something, anything. Use prompts, starting with the mundane and working towards essence.” A few hot tips from this year’s WriteCon.
“I’ve discovered offering different paths of engagement with ideas is simply a good way to be human. Even the best political movements—both the uplifting and not so uplifting—were driven by a narrative, by story.” Fiction writer Jeremy Bouma.
Anne Wheaton is a champion of kindness. She cares passionately about rescuing pets and helping fellow humans. After 17 years as a hairdresser, she decided to focus all her time on her true passions. The Woolf’s Susan Platt crossed the digital divide to talk to the author and rescue animal advocate about books, pigs, pugs, cats, dogs and Comic Con.
As a writer, there’s always somewhere you belong. Crime, fantasy, romance, historical, sci-fi, YA, horror and children’s fiction, there’s room for everyone. Here’s a list of some key international, UK and US organisations, where you may find exactly what you need.
Readers, friends and contributors of The Woolf are blazing a trail in the literary world. Have a look at their recent successes—there’s something for everyone.
“… ‘high and mighty’ could refer to the mysterious source of poetry. In my case, I have no idea where it comes from, or when it ‘might’ show up. I imagine it floating around up ‘high’ somewhere, looking for a safe place to land. My role, as a poet, is to remain aware and available, ready to write should it choose to come to me.” Switzerland-based poet Elizabeth Boquet.
“What happens when a book is the child of two different genres? Three? How do the authors of this cross-genre fiction get their books into our hot little hands when shelf placement becomes anything but straightforward?” Jim Rushing asks a selection of writers.
“With each advancement, the stakes get higher and the problems and their solutions more complicated. The pitfalls are greater in number and better hidden, the enemies ever increasingly clever and indomitable. The things I don’t know far outnumber the things I do.” Author Lindsey Grant on gaming Life as a parent and an American expatriate living in Switzerland.
“… singling out a first-, second-, and third-place winner is a little heartbreaking. Each story owns its own universe and concerns.” A word from our Short Story Competition judge, Anne Korkeakivi.
“Miniature glaciers crowd together on the path and I find myself waiting to see if they’ll start to melt, before I remember they’re actually glass.” Read Kate Paine’s winning short story.
“I wake and pick. I scratch and claw and I bleed. Every morning, every day, always.” Read runner-up J. Rushing’s story.
“A punch to the gut. Impossible to breathe. No physical impact, yet searing pain. Words, a confluence of thoughts, a convergence of letters that beg to be unscrambled, turned back into their secret gibberish. Instead, she insists, “I’m not scared of it, Mom,” she says, her voice strong.” Read K.C. Allen’s story, third place in our short story competition.
“Writing causes all the feels, oh yes. If creativity takes the shape of a parabola, weaving its highs and lows, keeping the creator coming back for one more success, parenting is without shape or limit.” Lindsey Grant tackles this age-old motherhood conundrum. And decides to keep her pants on.
“That night […] as some of ‘our’ refugees were coming to the Austrian border, we heard that Germany was closing the border to Austria. This was the beginning of the end of Schengen, Europe and everything we had hoped for as young students studying European law. What have we achieved since that night? What has split the world into two camps of supporters and opponents? What triggered all that hate? And why did I close my heart again after it had been ripped open so badly?” —Angie Weinberger
“The novel flowed out of me like the current of the Limmat, and it was just as refreshing. I pushed against you, Switzerland, and because you refused to yield, I was forced into motion. Energy has to go somewhere.” Jo Furniss pens a letter to her ex: Switzerland.
“I am supposed to be the custodian of my child’s development, yet linguistically, she will soon surpass me. With regards to understanding, fluency, and ability to assimilate, the student will become the teacher.” Lindsey Grant wrangles a toddler who’s learning about her world in several languages.
“Sometimes he wondered how it all worked, how one day flowed into the next, how the money kept coming in, why the train station was always so clean, but resolved that it was best not to ask …” A short story from local Swiss writer, Alex Hintermann.
“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.
“There’s something interesting about a story that circles—however tightly, however loosely. This is the story that (like most others) is anchored from the start of its telling in a place and an action. It’s an action that is borne of friction: in the world, between characters, or internally.” Libby O’Loghlin on diving deep, and surfacing at the beginning.
“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.
“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.
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.
Short stories, snagging agents, indie publishing and marshmallows … novelist Olivia Wildenstein shares her learnings from this year’s Geneva Writers Conference.
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.