Swiss Literature Awards

presented by the Federal Office of Culture FOC

Every year, the Federal Office of Culture awards the Swiss Grand Award for Literature as well as five to seven Swiss Literature Awards. The latter are awarded for literary works that have been published in the previous year, in one of the national languages or in a Swiss dialect. The Swiss Grand Prix for Literature honours a personality who stands out through their exceptional dedication to Swiss literature.

In addition, every other year a special prize is awarded, in recognition of exceptional commitment to Swiss literature and to its public promotion.

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Sample translations of the 2023 laureates’ texts can be provided upon request.

Prisca Agustoni
Verso la ruggine

Author Prisca Agustoni
Genre Poetry
Publisher Interlinea, Novara
ISBN 978-8-8685744-1-3
Translation rights

Fanny Desarzens

Author Fanny Desarzens
Genre Novel
Publisher Éditions Slatkine, Genève
ISBN 978-2-8321108-9-8
Translation rights

Lioba Happel
Pommfritz aus der Hölle

Author Lioba Happel
Genre Novel
Publisher edition pudelundpinscher, Linescio
ISBN 978-3-906061-25-2
Translation rights

Anne-Sophie Subilia

Author Anne-Sophie Subilia
Genre Novel
Publisher Editions Zoé, Chêne-Bourg
ISBN 978-2-88907-025-1
Translation rights Laure Pécher,

Jachen Andry
be cun rispli

Author Jachen Andry
Genre Poetry
Publisher editionmevinapuorger, Zurich
ISBN 978-3-9525233-5-3
Translation rights Mevina Puorger,

Lettre à mon dictateur

Author Eugène
Genre Novel
Publisher Éditions Slatkine, Genève
ISBN 978-2-8321114-2-0
Translation rights

Lika Nüssli
Starkes Ding

Author Lika Nüssli
Genre Graphic Novel
Publisher Edition Moderne, Zürich
ISBN 978-3-03731-227-8
Translation rights Sarah Lapalu,

Special Award for Public Promotion

The Federal Office of Culture’s Special Prize for Education 2023 recognises a threefold commitment to books: authors, teachers and school classes come together thanks to the Schulhausroman (Schoolhouse Novel) initiative founded in 2005 by Richard Reich and Gerda Wurzenberger in German-speaking Switzerland. The idea is that, for about six months, pupils aged 13 to 15 work together on a novel under the guidance of experienced writers who act as writing coaches, and the resulting piece of work is published as a booklet and read outside school at a public event. The successful project is also attracting interest in French-speaking Switzerland: Roman d’école was launched in 2009, and Ticino and Graubünden took it up eight years later. Thanks to the imagination of Swiss school classes, around 200 such novels have been published so far.

Swiss Grand Prix for Literature

Leta Semadeni was born in 1944 in Scuol in the Engadine and studied linguistics and literature at the University of Zurich. She has worked as a teacher in Latin America as well as in Paris, Berlin and New York. She has lived in Lavin since 2005.

Most of Leta Semadeni’s writing is poetry in Romansh or German and she translates her own texts into the alternate language. Her first novel Tamangur was awarded the Swiss Literature Prize in 2016.

Multilingual writing, self-translation, translation by others: Leta Semadeni’s œuvre – encompassing poetry, short prose, novels and children’s books – emerges and exists in the echo chamber of different languages. Poems from her six poetry collections have appeared in literary journals and anthologies in all language regions of Switzerland, in Germany, England, Spain, the Czech Republic and Lithuania. Almost all of them were written in two language versions, Romansh and German. These are not translations: They are autonomous linguistic creations composed in dialogical interplay, each drawing on its own poetic stylistic and playful devices of the two languages. The poetic power lies not only in the individual text, but also in the tension between the versions. Thanks to translations into French, Italian, English, Albanian and Icelandic, this poetic space of meaning expands into a wide experimental field of literary expression: language hurdles, the unsayable and the limits of translatability are explored by means of poetry.

Leta Semadeni shapes literary bilingualism and multilingualism in a creative, productive and poetologically meaningful way. Her cross-genre work appeals to a wide audience; two of her children’s books and a social justice warrior volume were awarded the Josef Guggenmos Prize for Children’s Poetry. Her multifaceted writing enriches Rhaeto-Romance, German-language and Swiss literature.