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Bookish weekend in store for literature buffs

Writers will be under the spotlight in Basel and Solothurn. Buchmesse Basel

Lovers of good books and literature are spoilt for choice this weekend with the opening on Friday of both the Basel Book Fair and Solothurn’s Literature Days.

Solothurn is wooing visitors with a line-up of contemporary Swiss authors, while Basel is betting on big name publishers to pull in the crowds.

The two high points of the German-Swiss literary calendar are overlapping this year, giving both authors and visitors the chance to take in both events over the same weekend.

Five leading Hispanic writers – Spain’s Carlos Ruis Zafón and Enrique Vila-Matas, Argentina’s Juan José Saer and Tomás Eloy Martinez, as well as Uruguay’s Carmen Posadas – will be present at both events, as will Norway’s Lars Saabye Christensen and Swiss authors Franz Hohler and Jürg Halter.

The organisers of the two parallel literary events say there is no question of Basel and Solothurn competing with each other, since they are aimed at different types of visitors.

Even so, special buses will be connecting Basel and Solothurn, transporting people between readings, talks, debates, exhibitions, signings and so forth.

Different audiences

Basel’s choice of authors is intended to attract the widest possible audience, and over 400 publishers are presenting their wares. Besides literary works, visitors will also be able to consult all sorts of reference books.

The programme includes roundtable discussions on subjects such as the state of German-language literature and Hans Christian Andersen, to mention just two. There are works in numerous foreign languages, too, with African and Albanian evenings.

Around 270 authors, musicians and artists are expected in Basel.

Solothurn is a more low-key event, with about 80 Swiss writers travelling to the small baroque city to present their work. Peter Bichsel and Milena Moser are some of the better-known names taking part this weekend.

The other Swiss languages have not been forgotten in Solothurn Anne Cunéo, Agota Kristof and Pierre Lepori will be reading in French and Italian, and Corin Curschellas will be singing songs in Romansh, based on the works of three deceased writers: Luisa Famos, Flurin Spescha and Clo Duri Bezzola.

swissinfo with agencies

The third Basel Book Fair and the 27th Solothurn Literature Days are being held from May 6 to May 8.

50 talks and readings have been organised in Solothurn, where Swiss literature is the focus.

In Basel, 405 publishers and 270 writers, actors, musicians and artists will be present.

The organisers expect 34,000 visitors at the fair.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR