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Cambridge resident translates Swiss literary masterpiece into English

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The Green Silk Shawl, by late Swiss author/poet/journalist Marcella Maier, is a charming family saga about four generations of women who lived in the Swiss mountains between the late 18th and late 20th centuries.

The English translator of the novel – it was originally only available in German – Iris Hunter came to Cambridge from Zurich in the 1970s.

Marcella Maier
Marcella Maier

Iris was determined to see it published in English so that her English-speaking friends could enjoy it too.

She found the Cambridge publishing company, Perfect Publishers, which agreed to produce the translation.

Iris Hunter
Iris Hunter

Iris said: “I have a friend who’s Swiss who recommended it to me. I read it and thought it was wonderful.

"I emailed the publisher in St Moritz and asked if it existed in English. He said it didn’t, so I took it very slowly and translated when I had time – and two years later it was finished.”


Iris loves the Swiss family saga: “The difference between the way these women lived and when you think that how tough they were," she said.

"No moaning about not having enough food, or nearly freezing – they’d just get on with life.”


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