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Switzerland’s “most cosmopolitan” writer dies

Zurich-based writer Hugo Loetscher, posing here in 2001 in front of a self portrait from 1972, has died following an operation Keystone

One of Switzerland's best known German-language writers, Hugo Loetscher, has died in Zurich, his publisher said on Tuesday.

Loetscher, who would have turned 80 in December, started his career as a literary critic and editor. In the 1960s he started travelling widely, especially in Latin America and South East Asia, and reported on the countries he visited.

He was called “the most cosmopolitan of Swiss writers”.

In addition to his journalistic work, he produced work in number of fictional genres: plays, short stories and poetry. He was also interested in painting and photography and was co-editor of the first history of Swiss photography.

He published translations from different languages, including a work by Le Corbusier and the novel The Beautyful Ones are Not Yet Born by Ghanaian writer Ayi Kwei Armah.

He won many prizes for his work, including Switzerland’s highest literary distinction, the Schiller Prize. At various times he held posts as guest lecturer in universities all over the world, including the University of California at Berkeley.

He was also writer-in-residence at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in 1979-80, and held the Swiss Chair at the City University of New York in 1981-82.

His publisher, Diogenes, said he had died after a major operation.

His latest work, described as an “autogeography”, is due to appear on Friday.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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