Johannes Mario Simmel (born in 1924 in Vienna, died 2009) grew up in Vienna and England. He originally trained to be a chemical engineer, worked as an interpreter for the American military forces after the end of World War Two and then became a journalist, author and film scriptwriter. In 1950, he moved to Munich and worked as an occupational journalist before he became a freelance writer in Munich and France from 1963 on. Simmel’s breakthrough came in 1960 with the novel Es muss nicht immer Kaviar sein (It Can’t Always Be Caviar) and his theatre play, Der Schulfreund (My School Chum). Since then Simmel has been publishing numerous novels, many of which have been made into films. Among his accolades are the Award of Excellence from the United Nations Society of Writers, New York (1991), the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and First Class Art (1992) the Hermann Kesten Medal from the German PEN Society for special achievements by persecuted authors and the Federal Republic of Germany’s First Class Order of Merit (2005).
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