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Kim de l’Horizon wins the German Book Prize

09.12.2022 – MARC LETTAU

One of the most prestigious literary awards, the German Book Prize, has gone to Switzerland this year: Kim de l’Horizon was awarded the prize for their debut novel “Blutbuch” (“Blood book”), which has thus now been recognised as the best German-language novel of the year. Kim de l’Horizon identifies as non-binary, and the protagonist of their prize-winning novel does not identify as a man or as a woman either. The jury felt the novel’s non-binary narrator “sought their own voice with tremendous creative energy”. The prizegiving ceremony at the Frankfurt Book Fair was also a sensation in the visual sense: as a gesture of solidarity with oppressed women in Iran, Kim l’Horizon shaved their head during their acceptance speech.

Ignazio Cassis visits Volodymyr Zelensky

The Swiss federal president and foreign minister, Ignazio Cassis, made a surprise trip to Ukraine on 20 October. According to Cassis himself, he wanted to form his own impression of the situation and discuss the reconstruction of Ukraine with Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv. He was quoted as saying “We also want to support Ukraine’s efforts to rebuild itself innovatively.” The challenges posed by the coming winter were also reportedly discussed. Cassis’s visit took place only hours after numerous Ukrainian cities were bombarded with kamikaze drones, marking a further escalation of the war.

No referendum on fighter jet purchases

The Swiss population will not get the chance to vote on the procurement of the F-35 stealth fighter jet. The initiators of the popular initiative, which has gathered over 100,000 signatures, have now withdrawn it. There was no point in offering a pseudo-referendum, said National Councillor Priska Seiler Graf (SP) on behalf of the petition committee. The actions of the Swiss Federal Council and Parliament in mid-September made a popular initiative entirely obsolete: in spite of the pending referendum, the decision was taken to purchase 36 fighter jets. Even a No vote at the polls would have been unable to stop the 6-billion-franc deal.

Swiss glaciers shrink considerably

This year has been bleak for Swiss glaciers. According to glaciologists, glaciers shrank more rapidly this year than in any previous year since records began. Glaciers lost a total of 3.1 cubic kilometres of ice. This is more than six percent of the total volume of all glaciers. The Pizol (SG), Vadret dal Corvatsch (GR) and Schwarzbachfirn (UR) glaciers totally disappeared in 2022. The disappearance of the glaciers was exacerbated by a combination of unfavourable factors: low snowfall during winter, a heatwave as early as May and an extremely dry summer with virtually no precipitation.

Photo: Kim de l’Horizon shaving their head during the awards ceremony at the Frankfurt Book Fair as an act of solidarity with women in Iran. Kim de l’Horizon made this statement: “This prize is not just for me. I think the jury also picked this book to make a stand against hatred and for love, and for the struggle of all people who are being oppressed because of their bodies.” Photo: Keystone