Aleksandar Hemon was a wonderful moderator for this interesting group of writers, as he takes so seriously the idea that we must read works from other countries, translate them, discuss them, and understand where they are coming from.
Róbert Gál from Slovakia, Nöelle Revaz from Switzerland and Patrick Boltshauser from Lichtenstein each in their own way, made us see the rewards of making this effort. Appropriately enough, we met at the New School, in a classroom.
Gál studied philosophy for many years and prefers to write aphorisms. Hemon joked with him about the impossibility of publishing a book of aphorisms in Slovakia and reaching readers. Gál said that for this reason he embedded his aphorisms in a novel and published in English; he feels philosophy is useful to any writer, as it is the art of asking questions.
Noëlle Revaz wrote WITH THE ANIMALS in a kind of invented French with “mistakes,” to forge her identity as a Swiss writer. Some French readers believed she was writing in a Swiss dialect. She travels widely in Europe and teaches at a bilingual Institute, which helps to enlarge her world.