Making Tracks

Summer is a laid-back season for events and competitions in writing and the arts, but there are always a few tasty morsels out there in the wilds of Zürich and beyond … especially for those who like a writing retreat.

Partial image, courtesy Paul Neale

Partial image courtesy: Paul Neale

Kaufleuten has a selection of cultural events and readings planned for the coming months, including an evening with Donna Leon on 13 June

Openair Literatur Festival Zürich, 11-17 July: Readings and other lively lit events, mostly in German but also with David Mitchell and Nell Zink

Geneva Writers’ Group, 11 June: End-of-year panel discussion in Geneva on “What’s New in Publishing and Marketing”

Webinar, 9 June: The Germany/Austria chapter of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), with literary agent Stephanie Fretwell-Hill, on “Creating Memorable Middle Grade Characters”

Writing, music and yoga retreat, 19-26 June: Writing in a wellness context, with Deborah Moffitt, in the Italian part of Switzerland.

Paris Writers’ Workshop, 26 June – 1 July: this year with workshops for novels, short stories and novellas, poetry and creative non fiction, as well as expert panels, author readings and social events.

Writing retreat, 29 August to 4 September: gain writing confidence in a French Château, with teacher Clay Tennis.

Paris Writers’ Retreat, 5-9 September:

Video interview series: As part of the Zürich-meets-London festival, art and performance collective Neue Dringlichkeit and ImpactHUB Zürich are releasing weekly video instalments of interviews with Zürich creators and entrepreneurs around entrepreneurial futurism, including the future of work and the creative economy. Watch this space:

Making Tracks: Summer 2015

Goings-on in the city of Zürich and beyond.

Image courtesy: Polder film, Kamm[m]acher/400asa

Polder film stills montage courtesy: Dschoint Venture/Niama Film/Kamm(m)acher

Summer in Zürich is all about outdoors. The lake is warming up and so is the culture scene. A wealth of entertainments await. Glorious locations, exciting visitors and homegrown talent—it’s all right here, on our doorstep. Throw off your thermals and dive in.

Books and authors

Highlights of the Literaturhaus Programme include Siri Hustvedt on 10 June and Laurie Penny on 17 June. Browse the events here.

All kinds of exciting outdoor events are happening during Zürich’s Open Air Literatur Festival.

Don’t forget, from 10am on the first Saturday of every month it is Story Hour at The English Bookshop on Bahnhofstrasse. Keep the kids entertained while you browse and get 10% off!


Our next Writers’ Brunch takes place on Sunday June 28 at the Restaurant Viadukt from 10am – 12pm. Come along to chat, meet writers, learn about upcoming events and drink coffee.

Keep an eye on Zürich Writers Workshop for the announcement of the next weekend workshop date this autumn.

Writing at the Castle. A few places are still available for a writing retreat at a château in south west France 1-7 July. More info here.


From 12 June to 12 July, Zurich’s Festspiele fills the city with an annual celebration of classical music, art, theatre, opera, and dance, presenting local and international artists of world renown.

Every summer (6-23 August), over 20 theatre groups stage performances around the city, including open-air productions next to the lake, for the Theaterspektakel!


Swiss Press Photo Exhibition – runs until 5 July at the Landesmuseum

Watching movies by the lake is a fabulous way to spend a summer’s evening. The OpenAir Cinema runs from 16 July to 16 August, at Zürichhorn.


Catch singer songwriter Suzanne Vega on 5 July at Bogen. She has a wonderful way with words.


Writers and Artists (UK) have a new competition: Killer Fiction Crime and Thriller competition, closes Friday 31st July

Making Tracks: Spring 2015

Goings-on this Spring in the city of Zürich and beyond

Partial image courtesy Martina Bisaz

Partial image courtesy Martina Bisaz

Roadmaps for Writers: 21-22 March


WriteCon is back! With a choice of two Saturday workshops:

1. Nail Your Novel, with Roz Morris; or

2. Routes to Publication, with JJ Marsh (ALLi Ambassador to Switzerland), Sophie Schmidt (epubli Berlin), Andrew Rushton (Nord Süd Verlag – children’s publishers) and Richard Harvell (Bergli Books).

Sunday Panel Discussion Roadmaps for Writers – includes all the above plus Hadi Barkat (CEO of Helvetiq). Meet experts in the fields of fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, games and the cultural landscape.

Ask questions and make the most of individual advisory slots (sign up on the day).

For more detail and booking info:

Who’s Coming To Town?

 Highlights at Kaufleuten Kultur this quarter:

  • AL Kennedy – 9 March
  • Hanif Kureshi – 17 March
  • Doris Knecht – 15 April

And many more … browse the site.

Also, Literaturhaus plays host to Lydia Davis – 7 May

Literary festival in Solothurn

Solothurn Literaturtage takes place from 15-17 May. Events, talks and oodles of books! This site is available in English and the full programme is published four weeks before the event.

SCBWI Zürich Meetup

The Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators has their Zürich members’ meet-up on 29th March. Upstairs at the Starbucks opposite the Hauptbahnhof. 14.00-15.00. Discussion topic will be Tips & Tricks for Revising.

For Geneva writers

21 March: Writing Folktales. Geneva Writers’ Group. More info here:

22  March: Creative Writing Workshop for Teens (ages 12-17).Geneva Writers’ Group Workshop, held at Dynamic Learning, Avenue Adrien-Jeandin 29, 1226 Thônex. 35 CHF. Instructor: Katie Hayoz. Learn about the basic rules of writing fiction and then decide which ones were made to be broken. To register send an email to the Geneva Writers’ Group (email details here: with Teen Workshop in the subject line.

Writers on Board

Join a group of writers on the slow boat to Rapperswil, writing on the way there, discussing the work on the way back.

“We meet on Sunday at 13:15 at Bürkliplatz next to the yellow mailbox and take the big round trip to Rapperswil departing 13:30, which will be back in Zurich at 17:15. We write individually on the way up and talk (in English) on the way back. For convenience we treat ourselves to first class. The most economic ticket is the ZVV 9 o’clock pass. Apart from pen and paper or notebook, bring a little money to buy your own beverages.”

Upcoming dates are Sundays, and 15th March, 19th April, 17th May, 21st June, 19th July, 16th August, 20th September, 18th October, 15th November, and 13th December 2015.

Any questions, contact: buchsara [at]

Success Stories

Congratulations to Paul Knott, fellow Zürich-based writer, on the publication of his book, The Accidental Diplomat!

cover 216pp_Walk on Water cover 216ppPart political intrigue, part amusing travelogue, The Accidental Diplomat is a memoir that bridges the chasm between John Le Carré and Johnny English.
Paul Knott is an ordinary Northern lad who began his working life in a hut on Hull’s King George Dock, before making an improbable career change to join Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service.
Closely involved in significant world events, his globetrotting story offers an illuminating insight into the most discreet of the UK’s great offices of state, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It blends the political and personal to paint a vivid picture of the exciting and often absurd life of a Crown emissary.
Knott’s first posting to Romania after Ceauşescu is a punishment for insubordination, after which his inspiring and uproarious journey sees him abducted at gunpoint by hospitality terrorists in Dubai, endure James Bond moments in the police-state of Uzbekistan, and visit Ukraine, Belgium and finally Russia – a land of contradictions that proves both appealing and appalling, not least when a former spy is murdered in London.

For Swiss-based readers, the book can be bought directly from Paul: via or e-mail for the discounted and postage free price of CHF18.00.

It is also available online from the UK publisher The Scratching Shed, from Hessle Bookshop or  Politicos and of course, from Amazon.

Paul Knott Small PicturePaul Knott began his working life in a hut on Hull’s King George Dock. He made an improbable career switch to Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service and spent twenty years globetrotting as a British diplomat.

After two decades of excitement, Paul currently lives quietly on a Swiss hillside with the Kenyan wife he met in Uzbekistan and their kids. He is still wondering how he got there.