Carlos Franz was born in Geneva in 1959, the son of a Chilean diplomat. He studied Law and Sociology in Chile and spent some time in Argentina before returning to his father’s native country. In 1989 he published his first novel, ‘Santiago Cero’. Two years earlier the manuscript had won first prize in a Latin American literature competition. The judges commented that the work had been strongly shaped by recent Chilean history, as it focuses on the period of military dictatorship. Besides novels, Franz has published several short stories and worked for various newspapers and magazines as a journalist and critic. He was also Professor of Literature at Georgetown University and at the Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago de Chile.
Franz belongs to the Joven Narrativa Chilena (Young Chilean Narrative) writers’ movement, which advocates prose without pathos. Instead, the authors write carefully structured observations and frugal forms of expression, rejecting artificial sentimentality and rhetoric. Despite their rather gloomy tone, they have a wide readership in Chile.
The first German translation of Franz’s work ‘Wo einst das Paradies war’ appeared in 1999. This novel is a dramatic family saga set in the heart of the Amazon region. It received the Planeta Literature Prize. Franz was also awarded the Premio Novela de la Nación-Sudamericana for his political novel “El desierto” (2005; t: The desert). “We must close the dark chapters of our history and look to the future” the writer told the ‘Berliner Morgenpost’.
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