Ralph Tharayil
photo: Nonzuzo Gxekwa

Ralph Tharayil is a Swiss writer of Southindian descent working through text, audio and performance. His writings have appeared in literary journals, magazines and on stage and have reaped a number of accolades. His critically acclaimed debut novel Nimm die Alpen weg (Roll back the Mountains) was published in February 2023 with Voland & Quist. It was awarded the Alfred Döblin Medal by the Academy of Science and Literature Mainz. Ralph is based in Berlin.

I am currently developing my second book which deals with the subject of homesickness – a term and pathologized sickness invented in Switzerland in the seventeen hundreds. It involves a bulk of research especially in the field of psychology and anatomy since “Heimweh“, as homesickness is titled in German, used to be a sickness of the body and not so much the mind. Nor did it allude to a sentiment of time based nostalgia as we know it today. My text will be called „Heimweh und Verbrechen“, the same title as the philosopher Karl Jaspers´ dissertation on the subject. It was mainly what I was trying to work on—getting through my notes, taking new ones, deleting the old ones, the new ones. Besides that I was working on a text which is currently an ongoing theatrical research about the artist figure Mata Hari, a Dutchwoman who posed as an Southindian temple dancer in the years before 1914.