© Ali Ghandtschi

Franz Hohler was born in 1943 in Biel and grew up in Olten in Solothurn. After finishing school in 1963, he studied German and Romance philology at the University of Zurich. During that time, he presented his first cabaret program »Pizzicato« (1965) to great success, and soon decided to discontinue his studies in order to concentrate fully on his artistic work. In his cabaret programs, he mostly accompanied himself on a variety of  instruments, with a preference especially for the cello.

In 1967, he made his literary début with »Das verlorene Gähnen und andere nutzlose Geschichten« (1967; tr: The Lost Yawn and other Useless Stories). More than thirty literary publications (including a dozen collections of short stories, novels, and volumes of poetry), more than twenty children’s books, sixteen plays, almost as many cabaret programs, and numerous records and works for radio, film, and television are testimony to Hohler’s enormous productivity. His seventieth birthday was marked by the release of »Der Geisterfahrer« (2013; tr. The Ghost Driver), an anthology of several volumes of short stories. It presents four decades of Hohler’s characteristic storytelling, moving adeptly between the everyday and the fantastical, finding the bizarre in the ordinary. Always driven, as he says, by what is essentially a child’s curiosity, he finds it »one of the author’s basic tasks not to regard the familiar as the familiar, and instead to wonder about the normal.« In 2014, a collection of short stories entitled »Der Autostopper« (tr: The Hitchhiker) was published, followed by a collection of poetry in 2018 called »Sommergelächter« (tr: Summer Laughter).

His children’s books, beginning with his first »Tschipo« book in 1978, have received several awards, including the Swiss Children’s Book Prize and the Prix Enfantaisie. »Wenn ich mir etwas wünschen könnte« (2008; tr: If There’s Anything I Could Wish For), a story for children aged four and over, is based on a fairy tale and is about learning to formulate wishes. »Es war einmal ein Igel« (2011; tr: Once Upon a Time There 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 Comets) tells the story of the birth of Jesus for young children. His most recent animal poems appeared in 2018 under the title »Am liebsten aß der Hamster Hugo Spaghetti mit Tomatensugo« (tr: Hamster Hugo Prefers  Spaghetti with Tomato Sugo).

Hohler has received a number of prizes for his extensive range of works, among these the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Swiss Schiller Foundation (1991), the Liederpreis (song prize) of German television broadcaster SWF (1997), the Art Award of the City of Zurich (2005), the Salzburg Stier for his entire oeuvre (2008), an honorary doctorate from the University of Fribourg (2009), and, more recently, the Swiss ktv prize (2013), the Solothurn Literature Prize (2013), the Alice Salomon Poetry Prize, and the Johann-Peter-Hebel-Preis. His works have been translated into over thirty languages. In 2015, Martin Hauzenberger published his biography »Franz Hohler: Der realistische Fantast« (tr: Franz Hohler: The Realistic Fantasist). Hohler lives in Zurich.

Tschipo
[Ill. Arthur Loosli]
Luchterhand
Darmstadt, 1978

Der Riese und die Erdbeerkonfitüre
[Ill. Nikolaus Heidelbach]
Ravensburger
Ravensburg, 1993

Der grosse Zwerg und andere Geschichten
[Ill. Nikolaus Heidelbach]
Dtv
München, 2003

Vom richtigen Gebrauch der Zeit
Luchterhand
München, 2006

Es klopft
Luchterhand
München, 2007

Wenn ich mir etwas wünschen könnte
[Ill. Rotraut Susanne Berner]
Hanser
München, 2008

Es war einmal ein Igel

[Ill. Kathrin Schärer]
Hanser
München, 2011

Der Geisterfahrer
Luchterhand
München, 2013

Gleis 4
Luchterhand
München, 2013

Die Nacht des Kometen
[Ill. Kathrin Schärer]
Hanser
München, 2015

Am liebsten aß der Hamster Hugo Spaghetti mit Tomatensugo
[Ill. Kathrin Schärer]
Hanser
München, 2018

Sommergelächter
Luchterhand
München, 2018