Mavis Guinard


An outsider's inside view from Lausanne

Born American, I was raised in Paris and Buenos Aires. Wherever my expat father went, he insisted I attend local schools, learn the language. After a French lycée, a bilingual high school in Argentina, I returned to the States to study at Mount Holyoke. After graduation, a reporter's job on the Buenos Aires Herald got me hooked on the adrenalin of deadlines.

After my French husband was transferred from Argentina to Switzerland, it was my turn to bring up our three daughters in French-speaking schools. Supervising their homework, then helping them bone up for their naturalization, I picked up information way beyond the "chocolate and cuckoo clock" Swiss image.

This data I mined in offbeat features for the International Herald Tribune’s Art, Travel and Leisure section, international magazines and online. Ever since I first saw the site from which Byron gazed out on Lake Geneva, and realized that Mary Shelley had conceived Frankenstein nearby I became fascinated by those English and American writers who came here. I wondered why and where they went. Traveling, skiing or hiking around Switzerland, I came across odd discoveries which prompted articles I've since updated and translated into this offbeat guide book that follows the tracks of the romantic and the eccentric travelers as well as Swiss dinos and Swiss sailors, mountain trains twisting up to palaces in the snow, not missing Sherlock Holmes last hideout, Hemingway's and R.L. Stevenson's favorite luge runs, revealing why Switzerland became so clean, and gently debunking the tale of medieval Superman William Tell.

As co-author of a book on Lausanne, Lausanne Clair-Obscur,I focused on a city where I've lived for many years with an outsider's fresh view, an insider's sympathy.

An interview with the delirious Swiss mimes, Mummenschanz, led to my translating the first book about them before their American tour as well as its sequels. Since, I've translated for Switzerland’s world-distributed cultural magazine, Passages.

A member of PEN International's suisse romande center in Geneva, I edited and helped translate PEN’s 75th anniversary anthology of prison writings, This Prison Where I Live, into it's French version, Ecrivains en Prison . ¨Dissident writers ranged from Arthur Koestler and Vaclav Havel to Wole Soyinka.

One privilege of living abroad is to build bridges of understanding between the countries where we live and the country we will always call home.

MOST RECENT WORK Petit Guide de la Suisse Insolite /Made in Switzerland

A bilingual Literary travel guide (English- French) ISBN 978-2-88340-175-4
A sub attack in June 1940 on an US liner sent to rescue Americans stranded in France by the Nazi invasion.
Views of Lausanne
A photo album of Lausanne bracketed between an insider's memories and my outsiders' inside view of this city facing Lake Geneva and the Alps
My translation of the biography of the delirious mimes by Michel Buhler
This was the book they took along on their first American tour.
An anthology of Prison Writings
A French version of PEN's 75th anniversary This Prison Where I Live, which I edited and translated with the help of PEN suisse romande members