Posts Tagged ‘Switzerland’

Reading in Switzerland

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Promotional poster for my reading on the Bahnhoftsrasse, Zurich

Just returned from a fantastic week of reading and meeting old friends in Zürich, Switzerland. Very emotional to read from The Hundred-Foot Journey at Orell Füssli on the Bahnhofstrasse, the elegant bookstore on the 5th Avenue of Zürich, where once I had my nose pressed against the glass. More later on returning to my old alma mater, ICS Inter-Community School of Zurich, for a reading and workshops with the students.

Closing The Circle: ICS Inter-Community School Zurich, Switzerland

Friday, April 8th, 2011

ICS Inter-Community School of Zürich

I am a writer today in no small part due to Ms. Evans. She was the soft-spoken reception teacher I had at the ICS Inter-Community School Zurich in Switzerland in the mid 1960s. Ms. Evans, a Brit, invented a robust fictional character, Shirty Girty the Witch, and when we pressed her at circle time, she’d make up one of the witch’s escapades on the spot. Shirty Girty was always cross and hated interlopers and lived in a toadstool mushroom in the forest. When Ms. Evans opened her mouth, I was transported into another world, and there my life as a storyteller began.

Thirty years later, when my daughter was a toddler and we had to sit en table for three hours during some delicious but drawn out dinner in France or Italy, I desperately needed something to glue my restless daughter’s bottom to the seat. The only thing that worked: my own cycle of Shirty Girty tales, also made up on the spot.

How much I owe Ms. Evans, ICS, and, of course, that bad tempered witch (with a heart of gold below her gruff exterior.) It’s payback time. This year ICS in the “gold coast” suburbs of Zürich, Switzerland, is celebrating its 50th anniversary and I am returning to my alma mater to help blow the party horns.

On May 4th and 5th, I will be making my way from class to class, talking with ICS’s students, of all ages, about storytelling, the imagination, and the act of writing journalism and fiction. I can’t wait. But ICS also plans to entertain parents and alumni and related adults: May 5th, at 19.00 hours in the school’s Hall, ICS is having an Indian dinner catered before I stand to give a reading of The Hundred-Foot Journey. What a fitting way to pay back the institution that gave me so much. I genuinely cannot wait.

For those not attached to ICS, but still interested in hearing me read while in Zürich, I will be reading at The Bookshop on 70 Bahnhofstrasse on May 6th at 20.15 hours. For further details go here.

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