Grande Dame der Jugenliteratur Federica de Cesco:
“I stick to the word Indian”
Federica de Cesco created an international bestseller with “The Red Silk Scarf”. On the occasion of the 65th anniversary, the book is published in a revised edition with more intense love scenes.
Best-selling author Federica de Cesco in her apartment in Lucerne.
Flavia SchlittlerDeputy head of the people department
She is considered the grande dame of young adult literature. Federica de Cesco (84) was 15 years old when she wrote the novel “The Red Silk Scarf”. A love story between a rich white girl and a young Indian. Set in Arizona (USA) around the turn of the century, the novel was a guide for many European women who were forced into stereotypical patterns in the 1960s to break free and pursue their dreams. At least according to the feedback that the writer from Lucerne received.
And the novel was seen as bringing people together. Celebrating 65 years of success, with hundreds of thousands of books sold and translated into more than a dozen languages, the book now comes in a revised edition. “I intensified the love scenes in it,” de Cesco says of the Sunday look. “In the original version, the lovers held hands behind a cactus that was classified as adult at the time. Isn’t that crazy?” she said, laughing.
The new expressions seem idiotic to her
The studied philosopher, who has lived in four countries, speaks three languages and has been married to Japanese photographer Kazuyuki Kitamura (75) for 51 years, has deliberately not changed anything: she sticks to the word “Indian”. “New terms like de-culture, vigilantism and cultural appropriation seem idiotic to me.” Keeping the original term is a celebration of content over form. “I lived through the time of cosmopolitanism. Anyone who wanted to wear rastas did.” Culture unites, not divides. “I hope this small-minded mentality is short-lived. You know the native people. “Ask them what they want to be called. They call themselves First Nations, but they don’t want others to call them that. Let’s talk about how bad it was for the people to be robbed of their land, language and culture.”
If she is criticized for sticking to the deadline, she says it “doesn’t matter at all.” What he writes, he does with love and respect. “It’s about it.”