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Big turnout for short stories

Slam poets entertain a nightclub crowd

Up to 18,000 book lovers are estimated to have attended Saturday's "Long night of short stories" in Zurich.

Organisers now say they want to establish the literary event as a regular fixture in the city's cultural calendar.

Success

"We think the night was a very big success," spokesman Bernd Zocher told swissinfo on Monday, "with up to 3,000 more people attending than at the very first event last year.

"The idea now is to make the 'Long night' a regular event, perhaps taking place every two years."

Zurich is one of the most important publishing centres in the German-speaking world and it's hoped that the city's fledgling literature night can now grow to match similar events in Berlin and Cologne.

Wide spectrum

With more than 100 individual events at some 60 locations across the city, the second edition of "Long night" was certainly large-scale. The wide spectrum of literature covered, ranging from children's books to avant-garde slam poetry, helped to ensure variety as well as quantity.

If one event blotted the organisers' copy-book, however, it was the night's grand finale, a round talk on "love, lust and passion" which actually turned into a farce of gripes, groans and frustration, when the amplification system went haywire.

"It was disappointing to have these technical problems," admitted Zocher, "but I don't think it had any real effect on the night as a whole. Some people at the final event were angry about what happened, but in the end it was just one part that didn't work out."

Huge demand

By way of contrast, Zocher pointed to the number of bookshops that managed to cope with huge demand for some of the individual events.

"Several bookshops told me they had crowds lined up on the pavements, and the fairy-tale bookshop in the centre of Zurich even had to move their whole story-telling show out into the street. Luckily it was a warm enough evening for them to do that."

With the next "Long night" now likely to take place in 2004, the organisers should have enough time to guarantee a happy ending for everybody, and not just in the evening's fairy tales.

swissinfo, Mark Ledsom in Zurich


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