Friday, 10 May, I visited the 35th "Solothurner Literaturtage" (Solothurn Literary Festival). As usual, the children's events called JuKiLi were top on my list. Most of all, I absolutely wanted to see the "Matchbox Boy" presentation by my writing friend Alice Gabathuler.
Her audience of 7th to 9th graders is the most difficult age group to cater for. Yet that woman emanates so much wit and energy that the audience was hanging on her every word. Needless to say that "Matchbox Boy" isa fantastic read – you can't help listening to somebody reading from it.
Afterwards, Alice was booked for a talk with a class of students, and I was allowed to go with her. The pupils came up with an array of good questions. And I almost burst with pride when Alice included me in the talk!After lunch, we visited yet two more JuKiLi- readings. By then, we had the support of our AUTILLUS-committee friend, the illustrator Corinne Schroff. We were shown in a stark way what damage a wrong programme concept can do. Other years, children had to sit in the aisles; audiences were so numerous that some people had to be sent away. This year, only the names and topics of the reading children's writers were printed in the programme. No times, no venues. In the overview flyer, JuKiLi wasn't even mentioned. Result: only half filled rooms; even in readings of stars like Jürg Schubiger!
Then Alice shouted us to a well deserved coffee and cake break in Solothurn's "Kaffeehalle" before we trailed on to a debate about the new media in publishing hosted by Hans ten Dornkaat. Christine Tresch, Margrit Schmid and Bruno Blume were discussing the possibilities and boundaries of E-Books, Apps etc.
Only briefly I went to the Think-Tank that Alice followed until the end.
The company of Alice and Corinne, our discussions and bantering made that Solothurn Literary Festival memorable for me. Thank you, Alice and Corinne!