BIBLIOTOPIA literary week-end around the world | Sunday, 6th May Programme

Sunday, 6th May, 11am to 8.30pm


11am György Dragomán and Gazmend Kapllani in conversation

Borders, Visible and Invisible

Moderation: Ed Girardet

In English, simultaneous interpretation into French

12pm Reading

→ Auditorium

12.15-12.45pm Signing

→ Pop-up Bookshop Elemental Hut

11am-12.30pm Workshop for children

Your children are welcome to attend workshops, where they will be supervised, while you attend BIBLIOTOPIA’s morning events.

In collaboration with, swiss website of slow journalism.

From 7 to 10 years up, unaccompanied children
Offered with the Bibliotopia Day Pass by reservation at:

2pm Katja Petrowskaja and Vladimir Vertlib in conversation

Memory and Exile

Moderation: Barbara Fontaine

In German, simultaneous interpretation into French

3pm Reading

→ Auditorium

3.15-3.45pm Signing

→ Pop-up Bookshop Elemental Hut

4pm Interview with Xiaolu Guo

Reconstructing Identities in Film and Fiction

Moderation: Ed Girardet

In English, simultaneous interpretation into French

4.30pm Screening of Xiaolu Guo’s film She, a Chinese

She, a Chinese, by the writer and film-maker Xiaolu Guo, follows the story of Li Mei (Lu Huang), a young woman who journeys from a remote Chinese village through a disastrous factory job in Chongqing to London, finding that “the west” – an idealised place of impossibly glamorous consumer riches – is just as tough as the place she left. According to Xiaolu Guo, she intended “to make a film that challenges the traditional Chinese cinema style and to cross over cultural borders, with a fresh artistic language and a personal voice”. For her “this is a very personal film about a village youth who is trying to break with her old peasant identity”. She, a Chinese masterfully addresses many contemporary issues of surviving, leaving and belonging in a globalized world. The film won the Golden Leopard at Locarno in 2009 and has been admired on the festival circuit.

→ Auditorium

6.30pm Interview with

Tahar Ben Jelloun

Moderation: Pascal Schouwey

In French

→ Auditorium

7.30pm-7.45pm Signing

→ Pop-up Bookshop Elemental Hut

8pm Apéritif

Rates and Reservations

Day Pass CHF 20.- (full price) | CHF 10.- (retired, unemployed, AI and under 30) | free for children

On reservation at

Access to all Sunday events, entrance to the exhibition and bus shuttles from Apples Station are included in the Day Pass.

The authors

Tahar Ben Jelloun

Tahar Ben Jelloun, born in 1947 in Fez, studied and taught philosophy in Morocco. Having arrived in France in 1971, he published his first novel with the publisher Maurice Nadeau in 1973, followed by poems published with François Maspero. He has written for Le Monde since 1972, then for several European newspapers. Tahar Ben Jelloun is the author of around twenty novels, including The Sand Child (1985), The Sacred Night (1987,which won the Prix Goncourt), This Blinding Absence of Light (2001, International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2004), Le mariage de plaisir (2016), as well as educational essays: Racism explained to my daughter (1998, United Nations Prize for Tolerance), Islam explained to children (and their parents) (2002) and Terrorism explained to our children (2015). His books are translated into more than forty languages. His last title, La punition (2018), looks at his experience of captivity in a Moroccan army penal camp. Since 2010, he alternates between writing and painting, and his paintings have been on display in several galleries in Paris, Morocco, Italy and Dubai.

György Dragomán

György Dragomán was born in Târgu Mureș/Marosvásárhely, Transylvania, in 1973 and moved to Hungary when he was fifteen. The White King was first published in its original Hungarian in 2005, it won prizes including the Jan Michalski Prize in 2011 and became an iconic bestseller. It is now published in over thirty languages and has been made into a highly acclaimed English-language film. His novel The Bonfire, published in Hungarian in 2015, has been translated into many languages and is awaiting its publication in French and English. György Dragomán works as a translator: among the works he has translated into Hungarian are short stories, essays and texts by James Joyce, I. B. Singer, Neil Jordan, Irvine Welsh and Ian McEwan. He lives in Budapest with his family.

Xiaolu Guo

Xiaolu Guo was born in 1973 in a small fishing village in southern China. She studied film at the Beijing Film Academy and published six books in China before she moved to London in 2002. The English translation of Village of Stone was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her first novel written in English, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, and 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth, published in 2008, was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize. Her most recent book, Once Upon a Time in the East, won the Autobiography category of the 2017 National Book Critics’ Circle Award. In 2013, she was named as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. Xiaolu Guo has also directed several award-winning films including She, a Chinese, for which she was awarded the Golden Leopard in Locarno in 2009, and a documentary about London, Late at Night.

Gazmend Kapllani

Gazmend Kapllani, born in 1967 in Albania, is a writer, journalist, and scholar. He lived in Athens for over twenty years where he received his PhD in political science and history from Panteion University, exploring the image of Albanians in the Greek press and of Greeks in the Albanian press. Gazmend Kapllani wrote his first three novels in Greek, not his native language. His work centers on themes of migration, minorities, borders, totalitarianism, and how Balkan history has shaped public and private narratives and memories. Kapllani’s novels A Short Border Handbook, My Name is Europe and The Last Page have been translated into many languages. A campaigner for human rights and justice for minorities, he was a victim of intimidation and death threats from the Greek neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn. Since 2012, he has been living in the US. Currently he teaches Creative Writing and European History at Emerson College in Boston.

Katja Petrowskaja

Katja Petrowskaja was born in Kiev in 1970, to a Russian-speaking family. She studied literature in Tartu, Estonia and then completed her PhD in Moscow and in Columbia University in New York, and in Stanford University in California. She has lived in Berlin since 1999 where she works as a journalist for various Russian and German media. She won the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in 2013 for her bestselling first book Maybe Esther, written in German. In this book she researched the origins of her family, exploring the heart of now disappeared Mitteleuropa. Awarded many other European prizes, it was a Spiegel bestseller and has been translated into nineteen languages.

Vladimir Vertlib

Vladimir Vertlib, born in 1966 in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), emigrated with his family to Israel in 1971 before settling in Austria in 1981. He now lives in Salzburg. Awarded the Adalbert von Chamisso Prize (prize for a German-language book written by a non-native speaker) and the Anton Wildgans Award, his works are translated into several languages. His first publication in France, L’étrange mémoire de Rosa Masur (Métailié, 2016), received an excellent critical and public reception. Lucia et l’âme russe appeared this spring 2018. A great storyteller, Vladimir Vertlib writes epic novels spanning 20th century European history, peopled with colourful characters and looking at our collective and individual identity.

See also

BIBLIOTOPIA | Friday, 4th May-Inaugural evening Programme

BIBLIOTOPIA | Saturday, 5th May Programme