Very poor picture, but yes, you see well, that’s Teju Cole.
Cole is in town for a few months as the writer in residence at the Literaturhaus and he did a reading on Friday night at the Old Botanical Gardens as part of the Openair Literatur Festival.
In the midst of this autumn like summer, we had a few warm days and Friday night was perfect at the Old Botanical Gardens.
Cole is a petite, soft spoken person. I wish he wasn’t constantly interrupted by the annoying interviewer (don’t remember his name, but he didn’t make much of an impression on me) and the boring as hell Swiss actress who read interminable excerpts of Open City in German with great part of the audience yawning.
I’m not sure in what context, but Cole had the terrible idea to say that nowadays, thanks to the genetically modified produce, we would be able to feed the entire human population. The ending Q&A was just a mess of people rambling on the pros and cons genetically modified goods. Q&As, in my experience, tend to be the weakest part of this type of events and somehow quite frequently it’s always a crazy person that picks up the mike, but collective madness was something I had yet to witness.
If I understood correctly, Cole will stay in Zurich till November. I hope he’ll participate in some other literary event and next time it will be better.