Jan Michalski Foundation’s Second ‘Bibliotopia’ Weekend Starts Friday

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The second ‘Bibliotopia’ weekend at Switzerland’s Jan Michalski Foundation features 14 authors and music in a consideration of freedom of expression and writers’ roles in society.

One of the so-called “tree houses” at the Fondation Jan Michalski at Montricher, this is the Cabane Elemental from Studio MK 27. Image: Jan Michalski Foundation, Leo Fabrizio

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘Writers and Writing in Society’
[dropcapT[/dropcap]he Swiss publisher Vera Michalski-Hoffmann, whose publishing company Libella is based in Lausanne, is also a great-granddaughter of the Roche pharmaceutical giant’s founder Fritz Hoffman and has been reported by Bloomberg in its Billionaires Index to be among the world’s 500 wealthiest people, with holdings in excess of US$4 billion.

Vera Michalski-Hoffmann

She established the Jan Michalski Foundation for Writing and Literature in 2004 in Montricher in her late husband’s memory.

On Friday (May 17), the Jan Michalski Foundation will open its 2019 Bibliotopia literary weekend program, a second iteration of a program that “invites you to consider the role of writer and writing in society” and “to examine the issues of political engagement and artistic freedom, celebrate literature and the courage of writers.”

Participating in various presentations of the program, Friday through Sunday, are:

  • Raluca Antonescu
  • Oya Baydar
  • Jonathan Coe
  • Jacek Dehnel
  • Pierre Ducrozet
  • Aminatta Forna
  • Elias Khoury
  • Andrey Kurkov
  • Max Lobe
  • Anne Nivat
  • Oliver Rohe
  • Philippe Sands
  • Dubravka Ugrešić
  • Juan Gabriel Vásquez
  • Musician Rodolphe Burger

In a program of readings, round table discussions, interviews, music, and film, the weekend is designed to focus this year on explorations of freedom of expression and risk-taking, in part by looking at writers as citizens as well as artists and placing a premium on the search for truth and the world’s natural diversity of perspectives.

Organizers say that questions being put forward in the course of the weekend include:

  • How can novels capture the contemporary moment?
  • How do stories question and reinvent societies?
  • What are the responsibilities of reporters and their representation of the world?
  • Can historical turmoil be negotiated through fiction?

Some of the more evocative discussions include one titled “Dark Corners of History” with Baydar and Gabriel Vasquez; “Political Satire in Fiction Today” with Coe and Kurkov; and “Reversing the Gaze” with Forna.

Complete information on the program, logistics, and pricing is here.


More from Publishing Perspectives on the Jan Michalski Foundation is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for trade and indie authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.

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