22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Zora del Buono

Portrait Zora del Buono
© Bernhard Ludewig

Zora del Buono was born in Zurich in 1962. After studying architecture at the ETH Zurich and the Berlin University of the Arts, she spent several years working as an architect and site manager in Berlin.

She published her debut novel »Canitz’ Verlangen« (tr: Canitz’ Desire) in 2008. The novel follows literary scholar Hubert Canitz as he discovers a woman’s body in the Spree. The image will not leave his head so he begins to research drowned corpses. It only slowly becomes clear to him that his obsessive interest with the subject is linked to his own family history and Germany’s past – his aunt also drowned in 1945. Del Buono’s second novel »Big Sue« (2010) takes place in the southern United States and details the encounter between a Swiss art historian and a German journalist. In the sultry atmosphere and historic surroundings of the South, they uncover the secrets of an old villa. In her travel book »Hundert Tage Amerika« (2011; tr: Hundred Days of America), which was awarded the ITB Book Award 2012, Zora del Buono reflects on the observations and encounters she experienced during a three-month trip along the North American Atlantic coast. She released another travel book in 2015. The book, »Das Leben der Mächtigen« (tr: The Life of the Mighty), came out after she visited the oldest trees in Europe and North America. Her narrative work is often described as linguistically precise, cleverly constructed and excellently researched. The novella »Gotthard« (2015), in which a railroad enthusiast is captivated by the life of the workers on a tunnel construction site, was praised by »Die Welt«, which stated that »One of the astonishing qualities of this book is that the graphic descriptions of the characters and their development would easily suffice for a thicker novel. ›Gotthard‹ is very precise and full of factual details about excavating and construction, but is also about loving and fleeing and longing. […] Del Buono uses a language whose precision translates into poetry.« Her 2016 book »Hinter Büschen, an eine Hauswand gelehnt« (tr: Behind Bushes, Leaning Against a House) takes place at a college on the US East Coast where a lecturer enters into a relationship with one of her students. Zora del Buono’s most recent publication is the family novel »Die Marschallin« (2020; tr: The Marshal). The story centers on her grandmother – a strong-natured woman and a staunch communist who not only admired Tito but was also involved in a serious robbery.

Zora del Buono is a co-founder of the magazine »mare«, in which she oversees the culture section. She lives in Zurich and Berlin.