23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Elisa Shua Dusapin

Portrait Elisa Shua Dusapin
Elisa Shua Dusapin [© Romain Guélat]

Elisa Shua Dusapin was born in France in 1992 to a French father and a South Korean mother and grew up in Paris, Seoul, and Porrentruy, a town in the Swiss canton of Jura. She studied at the Swiss Literature Institute in Biel and presented her debut novel, »Hiver à Sokcho« [Eng. »Winter in Sokcho«, 2020], in 2016.

In the South Korean coastal town of Sokcho, a French comic artist and the narrator of the novel meet. He is a guest at the boarding house where she works. He is seeking silence and inspiration in the barren landscape. She supports her single mother and dreams of a life in France, where her father comes from. Through conversations and walks through the wintry no-man’s land near the North Korean border, the two become closer to each other step by step, sentence by sentence. With clear, concentrated language and a great deal of sensitivity, Elisa Shua Dusapin’s first novel tells a story of hope, longing, and tenderness. The jury of the Robert Walser Prize, which she was awarded in 2016, declared the novel »a small masterpiece«. The English translation received the prestigious US National Book Award in the Translated Literature category in 2021.

Elisa Shua Dusapin’s second novel »Les Billes du Pachinko« [2018; Eng. »The Pachinko Parlour«, 2022] is again narrated by a young woman. Claire’s grandparents live in Tokyo, where her grandfather runs a pachinko parlor. The war drove them from their home in Korea to Japan; they have not been back home since. Now Claire is trying to convince her grandparents to take a trip back to revisit their roots. Once again characterized by a sober writing style, the novel makes the ambivalent family relationships as palpable as the atmosphere in the different places. It was awarded a Swiss Literature Award in 2019.

Her most recent publication, »Vladivostok Circus« [2020], follows the story of Nino, Anton, and Anna, three circus artists, as they prepare for an international competition in Vladivostok. The goal is to perform four triple somersaults on the Russian barre. To achieve this, Anna must be able to rely completely on Nino and Anton. Narrated by the costume designer Nathalie, this novel, like its two predecessors, highlights a unique set of relationships. »Le Figaro« declared that »each of her words contains a world…The author’s style is as beautiful as the relationships she describes. She remains true to herself and allows cultures and continents to embrace each other in a poetic way. A sublime spectacle.«

The author lives near Porrentruy, Switzerland.

Date: 2022