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International Event with Monica Cantieni and Donal McLaughlin

By 06/09/2014December 11th, 2018No Comments

Tuesday 16th September 2014; 7pm to 8.30pm,
CCA Club Room, Glasgow:

International Event with Monica Cantieni and Donal McLaughlin

Pero Lenz. Foto: Philipp Zinniker

Monica Cantieni is head of multimedia at the Culture Department of Swiss Radio and Television. She currently lives in Wettingen and Vienna. Monica (and her translator, Donal McLaughlin) will be reading from her acclaimed novel, The Encyclopaedia of Good Reasons, which was shortlisted for the Swiss Book Prize in 2011.

“My father bought me from the council for 365 francs”, recalls the narrator – a young girl, an immigrant to Switzerland whose adoption is yet to be finalized. Her new community speaks German, a language foreign to her, and she collects words and phrases in matchboxes. Though her relationship with her adoptive parents is sometimes strained, she bonds with her adoptive grandfather Tat, and together they create the eponymous Encyclopaedia of Good Reasons.

Set during the crucial 1970 Swiss referendum on immigration, Monica introduces us to a host of colorful characters who struggle to make Switzerland their home: Eli, the Spanish bricklayer; Toni, the Italian factory worker with movie star looks; Madame Jelisaweta, the Yugoslav hairdresser; and Milena, the mysterious girl in the wardrobe. This is a book with a very warm heart, and rarely has a young girl’s narrative been at once so uproariously hilarious and so deeply moving.

Born in Derry, Donal McLaughlin has lived in Scotland since 1970. The author of An Allergic Reaction to National Anthems & Other Stories, his second collection – Beheading the Virgin Mary & Other Stories – was published by Dalkey Archive in Spring 2014. Donal also translates from German. Known for his bilingual edition of the poetry of Stella Rotenberg (Shards) and his translations of over one hundred German-Swiss writers for the New Swiss Writing anthologies, he has also collaborated with Chris Dolan on a stage version of The Reader. He is the voice of Urs Widmer in English – My Father’s Book was shortlisted for the Best Translated Book Award 2013 in the United States – and also translates Arno Camenisch, Monica Cantieni, Abbas Khider, Pedro Lenz and Christoph Simon. A founding member of the Scottish Writers’ Centre, Donal featured as both an author and a translator in Best European Fiction 2012 (Dalkey Archive). He maintains a website at

This is a free event, open to all.

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