Home » Klaus Merz receives the Swiss Grand Prix Literature 2024

Klaus Merz receives the Swiss Grand Prix Literature 2024

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Federal Office of Culture

Bern, February 15, 2024 – The Federal Office of Culture (BAK) honors the life’s work of Klaus Merz from Aargau with Switzerland’s highest literary award. This year’s special translation prize goes to Dorothea Trottenberg from Zurich. Five male and two authors will be awarded a Swiss literary prize for a work published last year. The award ceremony will take place on May 10, 2024 as part of the Solothurn Literature Days in the presence of the Head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs, Federal Councilor Elisabeth Baume-Schneider.

Swiss Grand Prix Literature 2024 to Klaus Merz

Klaus Merz was born in 1945 and grew up in Menziken in the canton of Aargau. He is a trained secondary teacher and worked at the Swiss Building School in Aarau as a lecturer in language and culture. Merz has been a freelance writer for many years and lives in Unterkulm (AG).

Introspection and linguistic condensation characterize Klaus Merz’s work. Klaus Merz is a rather quiet, but all the more urgent and weighty voice that finds an echo chamber far beyond the Swiss borders. Since the first volume of poetry, With Collected Blindness (1967), a very diverse oeuvre has been created in over fifty years: It includes poetry, prose – stories, novellas, short novels and essays – as well as plays, radio plays and children’s books, which are presented in a work edition in seven volumes were published. The work continues to grow and Klaus Merz deals, for example, with the inner workings of a Mediterranean company (firma, 2019) or the traces of memory (Noch Licht im Haus, 2023). His archive is located in the Swiss Literary Archives.

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Special Translation Prize 2024 to Dorothea Trottenberg

Dorothea Trottenberg was born in 1957. She is one of the most productive freelance translators in German-speaking Switzerland. After training as a librarian, she studied Slavic studies in Cologne and Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg).

Today she translates classical and contemporary Russian literature and works at the University Library of Basel as a specialist in Slavic and Eastern European studies. Dorothea Trottenberg’s stylistic registers are extremely diverse and range from the great classic novels of Gogol, Turgenev, Chekhov and Tolstoy to the contemporary stories of Elena Chizhova or Maria Rybakova, the experimental prose of Sigismund Krzyzanowski (The Club of Letter Murderers, 2015; Munchausen’s Return , 2018) and the concise texts by Andrej Gelassimow (Durst, Suhrkamp, ​​2011). Since 2005 she has been dedicating herself to the complete works of Ivan Bunin and has published ten volumes to date, placing her prominently in contemporary translations from Russian. Dorothea Trottenberg was already awarded the Paul Celan Prize of the German Literature Fund in 2012, the most important German-language prize for outstanding translations.

Swiss literary prizes

In addition to the Swiss Grand Prix for Literature and the Special Prize for Translation, the Federal Jury for Literature has awarded the following works published in 2023 with a Swiss Literature Prize:

  • Bessora (*1968, left in der Nähe von Paris), You, the ancestors, Paris, JC Lattès
  • Jérémie Gindre (*1978, lives in Geneva), Tombola, Genève, Zoé
  • Judith Keller (*1985, lives in Zurich), Wilde Manöver, Munich, Luchterhand
  • Dominic Oppliger (*1983, lives in Zurich), giftland, Lucerne, The Healthy People Dispatch
  • Claudia Quadri (*1965, lebt in Lugano), Childhood and bestiary, Bellinzona, Casagrande
  • Ed Wige (*1984, lives in Lausanne), Milch Lait Latte Mleko, Lausanne, Paulette éditrice
  • Ivna Žic (*1986, lives in Zurich), Probable Origins, Berlin, Matthes and Seitz
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The BAK awards the Swiss literary prizes every year. The Swiss Grand Prix for Literature honors an author’s complete work. The Special Prize for Translation is awarded every two years, alternating with the Special Prize for Mediation. In addition to these awards, each worth 40,000 francs, prizes are announced annually for individual works published in the past year. These are endowed with 25,000 francs each. From February 15, 2024, podcasts will be published in which the award winners will be presented in conversation. Her work is also shown at the Solothurn Literature Days.

Awarding of the Swiss Literature Prizes: Friday, May 10, 2024, as part of the Solothurn Literature Days.

Address for inquiries

Media support (arranging interviews with the award winners and accreditation for the award ceremony):
Sarah Hofstetter, media manager for the Swiss Literature Prizes, +41 79 246 86 70, [email protected]

Information about the Swiss literary prizes:
Christine Chenaux, Literary Funding, Federal Office of Culture, Tel.: +41 58 462 92 65, [email protected]


Federal Office of Culture

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