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The Diogenes Programme

»Nothing is more interesting than a good story. Storytelling, curiosity, trying something out, that's what I've always been about - about art and show business in general: discovering talents and their gifts.«
Philipp Keel

Diogenes introduces itself

»Every kind of writing is allowed - except the boring kind.« Voltaire

Based in Zurich, Diogenes is the largest independent fiction publisher in Europe, with international bestselling authors such as Doris Dörrie, Daniela Krien, Donna Leon, Ingrid Noll, Paulo Coelho, John Irving, Ian McEwan, Bernhard Schlink, Patrick Süskind, Martin Suter, Martin Walker und Benedict Wells. A comprehensive collection of classics, art and cartoon volumes and children's books complete the programme.

In over 70 years of publishing history, almost 8'000 titles by more than 800 writers and artists have been published, producing many international successes.

Diogenes manages the film and theatre rights of important German-language and international authors, such as Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Sławomir Mrożek and Patrick Süskind, to name but a few. Particularly noteworthy are the film adaptations of Bernhard Schlink's The Reader, Patrick Süskind's Perfume and Patricia Highsmith's Carol, which became international successes. The publishing house also represents the world rights of many German and foreign-language authors (including Patricia Highsmith, Donna Leon, Petros Markaris, Tomi Ungerer, and Andrey Kurkov).

Since 2019 Diogenes Verlag AG has been owned solely by Philipp Keel, who succeeded his father Daniel Keel in April 2012. The latter founded the publishing house in 1952, and in 1954 his school friend Rudolf C. Bettschart joined him as business partner.

The operational management of the company is held by Philipp Keel together with the Executive Board Katharina Erne (Finance & Controlling), Ruth Geiger (Press & Public Relations), Susanne von Ledebur (Programme & Acquisition) and Steffen Müller (Marketing, Sales & Digital Transformation).

In 2016, Philipp Keel founded the subsidiary Diogenes Entertainment and has since been involved in numerous film productions as an executive producer. For example, the novel Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith was filmed by Entertainment 360 and New Regency Pictures with Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas, directed by Adrian Lyne with Executive Producers Steven Zaillian, Garrett Basch, Guymon Casady, Ben Forkner, Anthony Katagas, Arnon Milchan and Philipp Keel (Diogenes Entertainment GmbH).

Almost 100 new authors have been signed by Phillip Keel in recent years, including Daniela Krien, Simone Lappert and Sasha Filipenko. Rather than focusing on single titles, Diogenes publishes authors and their complete works. Our major international successes include The Perfume by Patrick Süskind and The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. One of the outstanding recent successes is Love in Case of Emergency by Daniela Krien (2019).

Philipp Keel also remains true to Diogenes Verlag's credo that »every kind of writing is allowed - except the boring kind«. In April 2022, he and Diogenes Verlag were honoured with the ›Premio Enrico Filippini‹, which is awarded as part of the Eventi letterari Monte Verità festival in Ascona, Switzerland, and recognises individuals and initiatives that are full of courage, creativity and ingenuity in the world of books.

Patrick Süskind Perfume. The Story of a Murderer – Over 20 million copies sold worldwide, of which 5.5 million in German alone.

Bernhard Schlink The Reader – translated into over 50 languages, the first German novel in history to reach No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list in 1999.

The white bookcover with a picture and sleek frame: Diogene's trademark design for hardback, paperback, audio and ebooks has become a well-established brand in the German publishing market. Philipp Keel created this distinct and timeless brand and complements it with special designs for narrative non-fiction, crime series and selected deluxe editions.

Dailies from Diogenes Verlag:

Diogenes Verlag is generously supported by the Federal Office of Culture.

Why the publishing house is called Diogenes:

»I searched cultural history for a figurehead. Diogenes of Sinope, the curious Greek philosopher, seemed the right one. Although I usually do not like philosophers - except for poetic thinkers like Montaigne, Schopenhauer, Emerson, Thoreau, Egon Friedell and Ludwig Marcuse - Diogenes was particularly appealing to me because he fought everything conventional not only theoretically but also through his lifestyle. He was also the first cosmopolitan (he is said to have proclaimed himself a citizen of the cosmos, with the only proper state order being the universe), and to the question of what use philosophy was, he allegedly answered: ›If nothing else, one is prepared for every fate.‹ His asceticism was not an escape from the world, it was his fervent affirmation of life. What amuses me is that not a single written line of his survives, yet his spirit lives on.« Daniel Keel

The Diogenes Founders

»When I was twenty, I tried to write and paint myself. I had to realise that my talent was not sufficient. I became an intermediary for those who were better, i.e. midwife, butler and banker all in one.« Daniel Keel

Daniel Keel founded Diogenes Verlag in 1952 at the age of 22. His first book was: Weil noch das Lämpchen glüht by Ronald Searle with a foreword by Friedrich Dürrenmatt.

»Daniel Keel wrote me a letter in January 1953: He was 22 years old, had just founded a publishing house for humorous books, his first product was a small book with drawings by Ronald Searle, and he asked whether I had material for a similar enterprise. In May I delivered the drawings to Zurich. At the station stood a young man, almost a boy, he seemed a little shy and a little clever and had something of a theologian about him. He hasn’t changed much since then. He lived in Zurich's Merkurstrasse in an old-fashioned subletting room, in an old-fashioned flat, in an old-fashioned house, and kept his accounts in an old Persil box under an old-fashioned bed.« Paul Flora

In 1954, Daniel Keel's sandbox and scout friend, Rudolf C. Bettschart - both born on the same day (10.10.1930) and raised in the same place (Einsiedeln) - began to take care of the bookkeeping and organisation of the publishing house in his spare time. In 1961 Rudolf C. Bettschart joined the publishing house full-time. 

Until their deaths (Daniel Keel: 13.9.2011 / Rudolf C. Bettschart: 30.3.2015) they led and shaped Diogenes Verlag, which celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2022.

Homage to Daniel Keel