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Markus Werner (German: [vɛʀneʀ]; 27 December 1944 – 3 July 2016) was a Swiss writer, known as the author of the novels Zündels Abgang (Zündel’s Exit), Am Hang (On the Edge), and Die kalte Schulter (Cold Shoulder).[1]


Markus Werner was born in Eschlikon, in the canton of Thurgau. In 1948 the family moved to Thayngen (canton of Schaffhausen) where Werner finished school and passed the general qualification for university entrance in 1965. At the University of Zürich he studied German, philosophy and psychology. In 1974 he completed a doctorate on Max Frisch, whose writing has been an important influence on Werner. From 1975 to 1985, he worked as a teacher, and from 1985 to 1990 as an assistant professor at the Kantonsschule (high school) in Schaffhausen. He dedicated himself exclusively to writing after 1990. Werner lived in Schaffhausen until his death in 2016.[2]


The protagonists of Werner’s novels have quit their jobs. From their perspectives Werner laconically describes everyday life, at turns astonished, with distress, and with humour. The results are strictly calculated scenes and episodes in which the course of the world appears in too sharp and sometimes laughable details, situations that Werner’s protagonists simply cannot deal with. Seemingly harmless everyday perfidies break down Werner's characters: the deaf ears of their fellow men, their cold, headstrong souls. Human deficiencies are described in a tragicomical way. Werner sees the self-evident as something strange, is astonished and wonders like a child. His protagonists want the right to make mistakes and have deficiencies (“self-assuredness is the sign of the yokel”, in: Die kalte Schulter, a Chinese saying). They crave love, but at the same time curse the world and themselves.



Works in translation


  • Allein das Zögern ist human. About Markus Werner’s works. Editor: Martin Ebel. Frankfurt am Main, 2006 (Fischer Taschenbuch 16908), ISBN 978-3-596-16908-5. contains unpublished texts of Markus Werner.
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