Swiss perspectives in 10 languages

Long night of the short stories

Up to 15,000 people are estimated to have attended last year's event Keystone

Bookworms are being promised a treat this weekend as Zurich goes mad for all things literary.

More than 100 readings and text-related side-shows are taking place across the city as part of Saturday’s “Long night of short stories.”

The event, now in its second year, was originally based on Zurich’s pioneering “Long night of the museums”, which introduced the city to the idea of late-night culture.

It’s now hoped that the literary version can take on a life – and a nightlife – of its own.


“We were very surprised by how many people came to last year’s event,” says organiser Bernd Zocher. “We estimate that there around 10,000 to 15,000 people turned up, and with this year’s event being even bigger, we hope to see even more come along this time.”

The wide range of subjects covered by this year’s programme appears to offer plenty to both big-time book fans and occasional browsers.

Zocher expects German feminist writer Alice Schwarzer to attract a large crowd as she reads from her new book “Alice im Männerland”, while fans of Federica de Cesco can join the Italian-born writer on a literary boat-trip across Lake Zurich.

Grand slam

Those who have long since lost their library passes may be more tempted to discover the thrills of “slam poetry” – a mixture of poetry and rap in which wordsmiths perform their art in front of highly-critical audiences.

Zurich’s biggest English language bookshop, Orell Füssli, plans to celebrate the 40th cinematic anniversary of fictional spy James Bond with an evening of “Movies, Martinis and more”, while the Epoca publishing company pay tribute to legendary British writer, P.G. Wodehouse.

“There is no central theme linking the various events,” Zocher told swissinfo. “Our experiences last year showed us that people like to pop in to different locations and see what’s happening and whether they want to stay or move on to something else. That’s why we want as wide a range as possible.”

With the resulting mixture roaming from children’s literature and cartoons through to established classics and new offerings, via cookery courses, travel talks and musical renditions – the “Long night” guide book is likely to be the most well read of them all.

swissinfo, Mark Ledsom in Zurich

Zurich’s “Long night of short stories” is in its second year and was inspired by the success of the city’s “Long night of the museums.”

Last year, up to 15,000 book fans attended the event.

More than 100 readings and text-related events are taking place across 60 locations this weekend.

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR