In 2019, the Swiss Arts Council is endowing 23 literary projects with a work grant. For the first time, such grants will also be awarded to performative literature, be it for «spoken word» events or «spoken concerts». The overall grant sum amounts to around CHF 600,000.
Work grants for literature provided by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia enable writers to concentrate on the creation of a piece of literature over a sustained period of time. Conditions for a grant are the following: the literary project must be convincing in terms of content, style and concept. The Swiss authors must also already have at least one work of literature published by a recognised publisher to their name. In the performative literature field, the artists concerned must have a track record of performances at renowned venues.
This year Pro Helvetia received 127 applications for a work grant. The jury responsible recommended that 23 of these projects receive support of between CHF 10,000 and 25,000. The projects selected represent a wide range of genres: besides novels of the traditional kind there are graphic novels, a crime novel, collections of poetry, books for children and youths, as well as literary essays. As a novelty, five of the grants go to representatives of performative literature. «The performative literature scene showed a strong response to the call for projects. This is evidenced by the number and the quality of the applications we received», says Angelika Salvisberg, Head of Literature and Society at Pro Helvetia.
One of the projects supported in this area is a planned co-production by dramatist Katja Brunner and pianist Sophie Aeberli. The two Zurich-based artists are developing a «spoken concert» entitled «Extinctum intrinsia coelis». Also among the grant recipients is Meloe Gennai, a queer artist from Geneva who will be working on a spoken word performance called «Comment j’ai fait semblant d’être normal». It offers glimpses into her adjustment strategies in situations like hunting for an apartment, job interviews or a session with a psychiatrist.
Those projects supported that are to appear in book form will get a further promotional contribution of CHF 4,000. The overall amount set aside for work grants in 2019 comes to around CHF 600,000.
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Press release of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia