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Joël Dicker, the hard-working bestselling author

Updated at 08 Mar 2024 12:41 pm

The author Joël Dicker published his latest novel "Un animal sauvage" at the beginning of February. The news agency Keystone-SDA met the author for an interview at the Geneva Book Fair "Salon du Livre" in Geneva.

Dicker is one of the few literary stars from French-speaking Switzerland who has enjoyed worldwide success. His latest work, "Un animal sauvage" (A wild animal), was published at the beginning of February. So far only in French. For once, there is no murder and the plot is not set in the USA, as has mostly been the case to date. Instead, the novel is set in Geneva and is about two couples whose secrets threaten their respective lives. And then there's a robbery at a jewelry store and money laundering.

When asked whether Dicker enjoys his status as a literary star, the 38-year-old replied in an interview with the Keystone-SDA news agency: "I live with it quite well. I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by sympathetic readers."

The author uses his fame to campaign for reading, for example. On Saturday, the author will be speaking at an event at the Geneva Book Fair with Geneva State Councillor Anne Hiltpold, among others, on the question of how the desire to read can be awakened more. Hiltpold is the head of Geneva's Department of Education.

Fighting for reading

"You have to fight for people to read," Dicker said. "Reading is what shapes the brain and helps to develop empathy and critical thinking." Reading allows you to understand what is at stake in votes, or which news is true or "fake news". "The day people stop reading, we expose ourselves to many dangers as a society," he says.

The Genevan is a fan of fiction and crime novels. Dicker is certain that his readers know his world view - after all, it is hidden between the lines. "I think that the novel is a perfect tool to make readers think," he says.

Is his life as a writer everything Dicker dreamed it would be? "It's nice that I can do this job that I love, but the reality is always different from the dreams you had as a child." If he hadn't chosen writing, he would probably have become a lawyer.

Author and publisher

Today, Dicker writes every day: "Writing is my everyday life and fills a large part of my days." On average, it takes Dicker two to three years to write a book. In 2022, a new activity was added. The Geneva native founded his own publishing house, Rosie & Wolfe. "Even though I've opened my own publishing house, I remain an author first and foremost," he said. "Un animal sauvage" is the second title to be published exclusively by his publishing house.

Dicker will be present at the Geneva Book Fair on Friday and Saturday for discussions and signing sessions. He is one of the three guests of honor alongside Elisa Shua Dusapin and Léonie Bischoff. The "Salon du Livre" is taking place in Geneva until Sunday.

"The Truth about the Harry Quebert Case" was the best-selling French-language novel of the last decade in French publishing houses. Dicker received the Grand Prix du Roman from the Académie Française for this book. The novel has been translated into almost 40 languages and has sold almost 15 million copies. Under the direction of Jean-Jacques Annaud, a series was made based on the book with Patrick Dempsey in the leading role.

©Keystone/SDA

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