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Literature creation grants: Pro Helvetia supports multiligualism

The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia has awarded a creation grant to 15 authors in support of their literary projects. With this year’s selection, Pro Helvetia is opening up a new dimension to its promotion of literature: For the first time, two of the grants go to authors writing in a language other than the four official languages of Switzerland.

With a creation grant of CHF 25,000 each, Pro Helvetia enables selected Swiss-based authors to pursue a literary project over a longer period of time. For the first time, authors were this year eligible to apply even if their project is not in one of the country’s four official languages.

In response to the first call for applications this year, 114 projects in 13 different languages were submitted. At the recommendation of a newly-formed jury of eight specialists, 15 authors were chosen to receive a creation grant. Five of the projects selected are in German, six in French, and one each in Italian, Rhaeto-Romanic, Serbo-Croatian and English. The genres include prose fiction, poetry and drama.

«Expanding the eligibility for a creation grant reflects today’s social reality in Switzerland and also comes in response to requests from the literary scene itself. New voices represent an enrichment of a country’s literary tapestry. Other languages bring with them different motives, styles and narrative traditions. Taking this into account in our promotion policy is consistent with our philosophy and is in fact overdue,» says Reina Gehrig, Head of Literature at the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.

Eligible for a creation grant are authors who already have a literary work published by a recognised publishing house, who are present in the Swiss literary scene and who are Swiss citizens and/or whose life is centred in Switzerland. Starting 2021, these grants are awarded twice a year, once in June and once in November.

The following authors have been selected for a literature creation grant (June 2021): PDF

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Lisa Stadler
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Press release by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, 10 June 2021