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Centre for Commercial Law Studies

Esther Pfaff (Intellectual Property Law LLM, 2006)

Esther Pfaff has just published her new book, Like a Fox to a Swallow.


Esther PfaffEsther Pfaff has just published her new book, Like a Fox to a Swallow, which tells the story of two very different women: Helen makes a living as a single-mum and partner in a London law firm, while Alma lives a privileged life as the wife of a Milanese industrial aristocrat. Yet, both women are haunted by the same tragedy: the mysterious death of Luca Carneggio. The book is written under Esther's pseudonym, Ella Voss.

After my LLM studies at QMUL 2005/2006 I started working as an IP lawyer in Munich. Despite having found an amazing job, I soon felt that I needed to find a way to pursue my passion for creative writing - or I would lose my inner balance. Drafting and negotiating license agreements requires creativity, but it is different of course. Seeing my novel in the catalogue of Amazon or Waterstones after 5 years of nightshifts and holidays spent writing is a dream come true.

In my early 30s, my family experienced a number of losses which certainly inspired the idea for the novel. Overcoming grief and getting back on your feet after life let you down is a timeless theme, perhaps of heightened actuality in these trying times. The novel takes you on an emotional journey to London, Milan and Geneva. It finds the comic in the tragic and adds light to sadness, a true balm-for-the-soul read for a winter’s day.

During my LLM in 2005, I already had a strong passion for English literature, many Saturday afternoons were spent in bookstores. But I did not yet trust in the idea of writing in a foreign language. It took many workshops and conferences abroad to understand that many authors write outside their mother tongue. Somehow, my creative soul speaks English and not German, I never translate in my mind what I write. I believe it helps to get a fresh perspective, to think outside of old patterns. Words are chosen consciously, as every word requires an effort.

Studying in London certainly deepened my understanding of the language. And it gave my writing a place to roam around: You need to write what you know to be convincing. It is therefore not surprising that half the novel is set in London.

My next project is a short story collection, hopefully published by the end of 2021. It is not easy to enter the market as a newcomer, especially in lockdown. But if you really enjoy writing, it is worth every step of the way. And seeing Like a Fox to a Swallow out in the world, getting a life of its own, is the most rewarding experience.

Read more about Like a Fox to a Swallow.

Find out more about Esther on her blog.





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