Hungarian-born author wins top Swiss literary award

Zsuzsanna Gahse was praised for her humour and irony Keystone

Zsuzsanna Gahse has been awarded this year’s Swiss Grand Prix Literature for her life’s work: more than 40 books which “fill the space between poetry and prose”, according to the jury. 

This content was published on January 17, 2019 - 11:48
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The 72-year-old author was born in Budapest and fled to Vienna after the Hungarian Uprising of 1956. She then moved to Germany, where she contributed to magazines and radio. She later moved to Lucerne and now lives in Müllheim, northeastern Switzerland. 

Her first novel, Zero, was published in German in 1983. Many novels and translations followed, with her latest work, “Seventy-seven siblings”, appearing in 2017. 

In a statement on Thursday, the jury highlighted Gahse’s interest in language, words, humour and irony and her observation of social phenomena. 

Gahse will receive the award in Bern on February 14. 

Literary promotion 

The Grand Prix Literature, founded in 2012, is awarded to authors resident in Switzerland for their complete works or a unique contribution to Switzerland’s literary scene. It is worth CHF40,000 ($40,300) and is aimed at promoting literature within the country. 

A special award was also given to Translation House Looren in Zurich and the Centre of Literary Translation in Lausanne. 

Seven other authors from around the country are to receive CHF25,000 each for a specific literary work.



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