Lena is writing a historical novel about U.S. intelligence in Switzerland in 1945. Her critical thesis examines the queering of masculinity in fiction.
Lena studied philosophy and English literature at the University of Berne, Switzerland, and then went to Ireland to study at the School of Social Justice at University College Dublin, where she earned an MSc. in Equality Studies in 2012. Between 2005 and 2015, she has worked as an editor and writer for various Swiss newspapers (print and online), while also writing nonfiction and fiction on the side. She has published her writing on the 100days project website in 2013 and 2014 and was part of the 100days exhibition at the Nathan Club in Auckland in 2013.
Lena writes: 'The creative part of my PhD will be a historical novel set in Switzerland at the end of the Second World War. The main focus of my book is a series of secret negotiations called "Operation Sunrise" that eventually led to the surrender of German troops in Northern Italy in May 1945. I'm especially interested in the figure of Allen Dulles (1893 – 1969), a U.S. diplomat and intelligence officer who would later become the first civilian director of the CIA.
'Most of the characters in my book are male and most of them also have privileges of race and class. Some of the characters, however, could also be described as queer. For my critical dissertation I want to study a number of contemporary gay writers who have in some way queered their male (seemingly straight) characters. My question is how privileged bodies can be queered in fiction, and how desire can be used as a queering factor in such narratives. Examples include Adam Haslett and his novel Union Atlantic, Marlon James' novel A Brief History of Seven Killings as well as Garth Greenwell's recent book What Belongs to You. In my analysis of these novels I will be using sociological theory on masculinity as well as queer theory.'