Swiss writer, Z'Graggen, celebrates 80th birthday

A Swiss authoress who regards herself as caught between two cultures has celebrated her 80th birthday. Born in Geneva, Yvette Z'Graggen grew up in a French-speaking environment, but her father was Swiss-German, while her mother was of Hungarian origin.

This content was published on March 31, 2000 - 11:05

A Swiss authoress who regards herself as caught between two cultures has celebrated her 80th birthday. Born in Geneva, Yvette Z'Graggen grew up in a French-speaking environment, but her father was Swiss-German, while her mother was of Hungarian origin.

She once wrote that of all these various family roots, it was the Swiss-German one - in central Switzerland - with which she felt least at home. Z'Graggen described it as a strange region, where they spoke a dialect she did not understand.

As an adolescent she took refuge in other cultures, reading books in Italian and High German. "My true country," wrote Z'Graggen, "was writing. "

Later in life, however, she grew to love Central Switzerland and spoke of her happiness at belonging to two cultures and her regret that there should be any signs of a gulf between the French and German-speaking Swiss.

It was going back to her roots in Canton Glarus which inspired Z'Graggen to write "La Punta", which like several of her books was translated from the original French into German. Her novels are characterised by the questioning of the conditions in which women live and their relationships with men.

She has also translated books by Swiss-Italian and German authors into French and worked on many radio plays for Swiss-French radio.

Yvette Z'Graggen was awarded the Prix Schiller in 1996 and the Prix Eugène Rambert two years later for her literary work.

By Richard Dawson

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