Christoph Geiser in the SLA

Christoph Geiser (1949) is one of the most significant contemporary Swiss authors. He has produced over twenty volumes of novels, stories, poems and essays. Since the beginning, Geiser's work has been characterised by unbridled vitality and a radical “aesthetic of resistance”.

Portrait of Christoph Geiser
Christoph Geiser
© Yvonne Böhler

Geiser's intrinsic drive to write led him to produce his early critically acclaimed family sagas “Grünsee” (1978) and “Brachland” (1980), the autobiographical journal “Wüstenfahrt” (1984) and fictional novels told from the perspective of Caravaggio (“Das geheime Fieber”, 1987), Marquis de Sade (“Das Gefängnis der Wünsche”, 1992) and Giovanni Battista Piranesi (“Die Baumeister”, 1998).

His narrative vigour can also be seen in his later works filled with associative leaps and manifests itself as an authentic “aesthetic of resistance” against the myths, taboos and collective drives of bourgeois life.

Christoph Geiser was born in Basel on 3 August 1949. The son of a paediatrician, he had an upper-middle class upbringing and attended a humanities-focused high school.  Geiser, who divides his time between Bern and Berlin, made his literary debut with “Bessere Zeiten” in 1968. Afterwards, he dropped out of his sociology programme in Freiburg im Breisgau and Basel and served several months in jail in 1970 for refusing to complete his military service. He then worked as a journalist for several years and co-founded the literary journal “drehpunkt” along with Werner Schmidli. Geiser also served as editor of “Vorwärts”.

Geiser has been a freelance writer since 1978. He has also been a member of the Swiss German PEN Centre and a corresponding member of the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung in Darmstadt since 1979.

Christoph Geiser’s work has received multiple awards, the most recent being the Grand Literature Prize from the City and Canton of Bern in 2018 as well as a Swiss Literature Award in 2020 for his collection of stories “Verfehlte Orte” (2019).

Last modification 06.03.2023

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