On Peter Weiss' 100th Birthday


Peter Weiss would have been celebrating his 100th birthday today.

Author, painter, filmmaker: in the 1960s, Peter Weiss stated that he was »in the early stages of a synthesis of the arts, in which words, images, music, and cinematic mobility are inseparable« where his genre-transcending artistic creations were concerned.

Peter Weiss (1916–1982) was a German writer, painter, graphic artist, and experimental filmmaker. He is best known for his plays Marat/Sade and Die Ermittlung, as well as the monumental three-volume historical novel Die Ästhetik des Widerstands. Born in Germany in 1916, he began his career as a visual artist, studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague in the late 1930s. After the German occupation of the Sudetenland, his family moved to Sweden, where Weiss would spend the rest of his life, becoming a Swedish citizen. His work won numerous major German literary awards, including the Büchner and Mann Prizes, and Peter Brook’s production of Marat/Sade received the Tony Award for Best Play. Weiss died in 1982.


»Peter Weiss reached the age of 65. But our image of this author did not bear any marks of age. Other traits outweighed it: his courage, his strict irreconcilability, his ageless desire for knowledge (…). If you tried to imagine him as a writer, you would see the sharp outline of an ageless intellectual.« from Spiegel-magazine’s obituary 1982

»[Weiss] remains among the most important postwar German authors no one’s read.« Slate, Overlooked Books of 2014

»A remarkable writer […] must be counted among the most important European authors of the 20th century.« Complete Review


Prizes and awards

Prize of the Prague Fine Arts Academy for the paintings Das große Welttheater (The Great Theatre of the World) and Gartenkonzert (Garden Concert) 1938

Charles-Veillon-Prize for Fluchtpunkt 1963

Lessing-Prize awarded by the City of Hamburg 1965

Literary Prize of the Swedish Workers‘ Educational Association (svenska arbetarrörelsens litteraturpris) 1965

Heinrich-Mann-Prize awarded by the der German Academy of Arts, Berlin (GDR) 1966

Tony Award for Best Play (Marat/ Sade) 1966

Carl-Albert-Anderson-Prize 1967

Thomas-Dehler-Prize of the Federal Ministry for Intra-German Relations 1978

Prize of the Südwestfunk’s Literary Magazine 1981

Heinrich-Böll-Prize awarded by the City of Cologne Literaturpreis der Stadt Köln 1981

City of Bremen Literary Prize for Die Ästhetik des Widerstands 1982

Georg-Büchner-Prize for Weiss’s extensive oeuvre 1982

Swedish Theatre Critics Prize (svenska teaterkritikerpriset), posthumously 1982


For more information about Peter Weiss' work, please contact the respective Rights Manager.