Donata Berra was born in Milan in 1947 and lives in Bern. On completing her studies in Italian literature and musicology at the University of Milan, she spent time in Germany to study German and music. In 1974, she moved to Switzerland’s capital city, where she gave courses in Italian literature and language at the University of Bern and the University of Teacher Education until 2012.
She is an author of poetry and translator of literary works from German to Italian (the authors whose works she has translated include Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Klaus Merz, Stefan Zweig). She is a member of the Olten Group, from 1992 to 1997 she sat on the steering committee and from 2000 to 2001 on the programme committee of the Solothurn Literature Days.
She has published various poetry collections, including “A memoria di mare” (Bellinzona, Casagrande, 2010) and “Vedute bernesi” (Viganello, alla chiara fonte, 2005), republished in 2017 in quadrilingual format. The anthology “Maddalena” was published in German (Zurich, Limmat Verlag, 2019), a selection of the four previous collections selected and translated by Christoph Ferber with some previously unpublished texts.
Donata Berra has won a number of awards. In 1993, she received the Schiller Prize, in 1997 the Literature Prize of Canton Bern and in 2001 an honourable mention for the Gottfried Keller Prize. In 2018, she was awarded the Italian-German Prize by the Goethe Institute for the literary translation of “La guerra invernale del Tibet” (“Der Winterkrieg in Tibet”) by Friedrich Dürrenmatt (Milan, Adelphi, 2017) and in 2019, she received the “Weiterschreiben” award from the City of Bern.
Last modification 10.01.2023
Swiss Literary Archives
Swiss National Library
Phone +41 58 464 03 16