Gianna Molinari [ Switzerland ]
Hier ist noch alles möglich
Gianna Molinari, born in 1988 in Basel, studied literary writing at the Swiss Literature Institute in Biel and modern German literature at the University of Lausanne. In 2012, she was awarded a grant for the writer’s workshop by the Literary Colloquium in Berlin. In the same year, her short story »Herr Bleier« won first prize and the audience prize at the MDR literary competition. Her texts have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies.
At the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize competition in 2017, she read the text »Loses Mappe« (tr: Loose Portfolio), which won the 3sat Prize. It tells the story of a security guard who sees a person falling from the sky without realizing it. On account of the self-doubt that plagues him thereafter, he creates a portfolio for the case that he eventually shows the first-person narrator, who also works as a guard. The text is part of Molinari’s début novel, which was published one year later and was awarded the Robert Walser Prize. In »Hier ist noch alles möglich« (2018; tr: Here, Everything is Still Possible) the story revolves around a young woman who works as a night guard at a packaging factory. The factory is about to be closed, but the boss and the workers are otherwise occupied: A wolf has supposedly gotten into the factory premises, which they hope to find with the help of cameras and 24-hour surveillance. The protagonist performs her rounds night after night checking fences more than anything else. Her search for the wolf turns into a search for self and leads her to ask the question of what borders we create in order to protect what is important to us. The story is soberly and succinctly narrated with an aloof tone that makes it especially gripping. At the beginning of the text, which Molinari spent six years writing, there is a drawing of a rectangle that represents the factory hall as an interior space of emptiness, expectations, and possibilities in the face of the world. The protagonist mainly sees a mirror of self-reflection in the people around her and the situations she experiences. The perception of a divided outside world ultimately leads to her desire not to be one, be many stories at once. »The fact that many stories really do become one, and an enticingly disturbing one at that, is this novel’s great accomplishment« (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung).
Molinari currently lives in Zurich, where she, together with Julia Weber, founded the artist activist group »Literatur für das, was passiert« – a literary aid project for refugees. In 2016, the project was specially honored by the city of Zurich.