22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Franz Hohler

Portrait Franz Hohler
© Ali Ghandtschi

Franz Hohler was born in 1943 in Biel and grew up in the town of Olten in the canton of Solothurn. After finishing school in 1963, he studied German and Romance languages and literature at the University of Zurich. During this time, he presented his first cabaret program »Pizzicato« (1965) to great success. He quit his university studies and from then on dedicated himself to his artistic creations. In his cabaret program, he often accompanied himself with various musical instruments, especially the cello.
In 1967, Hohler made his literary début with »Das verlorene Gähnen und andere nutzlose Geschichten« (tr: The Missing Yawn and Other Useless Stories). The more than thirty literary publications (including more than a dozen short story collections, novels, and poetry collections), over twenty children’s books, sixteen plays, nearly as many cabaret programs and numerous recordings and pieces for radio, film, and television are a testament to Hohler’s enormous productivity rate. On the occasion of his seventieth birthday, the anthology »Der Geisterfahrer« (2013; tr: The Wrong-Way Driver), a complete collection of his longer stories, was published. In it, over forty years of work display Hohler’s characteristic narrative style, which moves between the everyday and the fantastic and finds whimsy and oddities in ordinary things. constantly driven by, as Hohler himself has said, an essentially childlike curiosity, for Hohler it is »one of the basic duties of an author to not see the familiar as familiar and to find wonder in things that are ordinary«. In 2014, he released the short story collection »Der Autostopper« (tr: The Hitchhiker). He published »Sommergelächter« (tr: Summer Laughter), a collection of his poems, in 2018.
His children’s books, beginning with his first »Tschipo« book in 1978, have received numerous accolades, including the Swiss Children’s Book Prize and the Prix Enfantaisie. »Wenn ich mir etwas wünschen könnte« (2008; tr: If I Could Ask for Something), coming from the fairy tale with three wishes for children ages four and up, shows how one can learn to formulate his desires; »Es war einmal ein Igel« (2011; tr: There Once was a Hedgehog) is a collection of nonsense poems for children ages five and up; »Die Nacht des Kometen« (2015; tr: The Night of the Comet) explains the birth of Jesus for children. His most recent animal poems were published in 2018 under the title »Am liebsten aß der Hamster Hugo Spaghetti mit Tomatensugo«.
Hohler has received many other awards, including the oeuvre prize from the Swiss Schiller Foundation (1991), the song prize from SWF (1997), the Zurich Art Prize (2005), the Salzburg Stier oeuvre prize (2008), an honorary doctorate from the University of Fribourg (2009), the prize of honor from ktv (2013), the Solothurn Literature Prize (2013), the Alice Salomon Poetry Prize (2014), and the Johann-Peter-Hebel Prize (2014). His works have been translated into over thirty languages. In 2015, Martin Hauzenberger published his biography »Franz Hohler. Der realistische Fantast«. Hohler lives in Zurich.