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Man of letters Bilingual writer Oscar Peer dies

Oscar Peer has died at the age of 85


The prizewinning author Oscar Peer, who wrote in both Romansh and German, has died at the age of 85, his publishers Limmat announced on Friday. Peer was known for both his novels and stories.

He continually rewrote his works and republished them in new versions. In answer to a journalist who asked him at what point he was satisfied with a book he said: “When I can re-read it with a good conscience.”

Many of his books were subsequently published in bilingual editions, although the two language versions were not identical.

Peer was born in the Lower Engadine, and started an apprenticeship as a fitter before turning to writing, encouraged by his elder brother Andri, who was already a published author.

Having abandoned his apprenticeship, he trained as a teacher, and went on to study Romance languages and literature. He worked as a secondary school teacher and later in a teacher training institute.

In addition to his literary output of more than 20 works, he compiled a Romansh - German dictionary.

Peer won several awards, including the Schiller prize in 1996 for his complete works. The Schiller prize is awarded to Swiss authors writing in any of the four national languages, and is given either for individual works or for the writer’s total output.

Peer is the third Schiller prize winner to die within the space of less than two months. Jean-Luc Benoziglio, who wrote in French and was awarded the prize in 1998, died on December 5 at the age of 72, while the Italian-language poet Giorgio Orelli, a prize winner in 1988, died on November 10 at the age of 92. and agencies

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