A literary and a visual journey

a gallery by Elisabeth Moch

A story goes around the world (Issue III/2020)

  • “The city was empty,” is the first sentence in a story that travels around the world

    “The city was empty,” is the first sentence in a story that travels around the world

  • First chapter, written by Serhij Zhadan (Ukraine)

    First chapter, written by Serhij Zhadan (Ukraine)

  • Second chapter, written by Mathias Énard (France)

    Second chapter, written by Mathias Énard (France)

  • Chapter Three, by Tope Folarin (USA)

    Chapter Three, by Tope Folarin (USA)

  • Chapter Four, by Glenn Diaz (Philippines)

    Chapter Four, by Glenn Diaz (Philippines)

  • Chapter Five, by Patricia Grace (New Zealand)

    Chapter Five, by Patricia Grace (New Zealand)

  • Chapter Six, by Yvonne Owuor (Kenya)

    Chapter Six, by Yvonne Owuor (Kenya)

  • Chapter Seven, by Claudia Piñeiro (Argentina)

    Chapter Seven, by Claudia Piñeiro (Argentina)

  • Chapter Eight, by Ben Okri (England/ Nigeria)

    Chapter Eight, by Ben Okri (England/ Nigeria)


Mrs. Moch, as an illustrator, you have accompanied the literary journey around the world. How did you find that experience?

I hadn't encountered the idea of a chain story before, but I find it really cool. I was keen to see how the story unfolded bit by bit, and just like the individual authors, I didn't know what would turn up next. That fits into this strange Corona era, in which nobody really knows where this journey will lead either.

Has the Corona crisis changed the way you work?

Yes, very. I have two small children, so from day one of the lockdown, everything was different. Sometimes I could only work at night. So I had to find a creative solution. We got together with another family and lived together as a temporary community: four independent working parents, four small children, sharing childcare and coworking.

Many of your pictures depict nature, while people are only shown as threatening dark shadows.

I myself have experienced escapism into nature as a healing force over the past few weeks. Just looking at a tree gives you a sense of stability. And the protagonist Elsa also takes refuge in the forest in times of uncertainty. That is a strong image. I didn't actually want to draw people, because I find it more and more exciting to leave the faces of the protagonists open. But in the chapter by Tope Folarin about the protests I wanted to show people, not individually, but as an angry mass (fourth picture in the gallery above).

Do you have a favourite illustration?

Yes, the picture with the hut: Beyond the city, into nature. The way the house opens up in front of the protagonist Elsa, eerie, but also very familiar to her, that's what I find exciting in the story and also as a picture.

The interview was conducted by Gundula Haage
Translation by Jess Smee



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