Johanna Spyri: Biography

Johanna Spyri

12 jun 1827

Johanna Spyri made her name to be registered in the writer’s fraternity through her novel, “Heidi”. Although she has written over 50 books, it was ‘Heidi’ which made her popular. Born in the rural area of Hirzel, Switzerland on 12 Jun, 1827, Johanna was the 4th among 6 children to her parents.

Johanna got educated both at school and at home. She used to spend most of her summers around Chur in Graubünden; the scenic beauty of this place was so amazing that Johanna later used it in her novels. She married Bernhard Spyri who was a lawyer by profession and they moved to Zurich.

It was in Zurich, that Johanna Spyri wrote her first novel, ‘A leaf on Vrony’s Grave’ which got published in 1871. Johanna was unaware of the tragedy that was going to hit her. She lost her husband and son in 1884. Pushed to isolation and depression, Johanna started diverting her focus on various other things to keep herself busy. She started to write many stories, did charity work and raised her niece.

Johanna’s talent to look into a child’s mind added value to her writing. She was able to capture and as well portray the happiness and sorrows of children. Although Johanna has authored many children stories none of them gained much popularity as that of ‘Heidi’. Millions of copies of this book were sold all over the world and also translated into 40 languages.

‘Heidi’ became an inspiration to many film makers, cartoons and television series. Few of Johanna Spyri’s other works include ‘Heimatlos’ and ‘Gritli’. The author who gave the everlasting ‘Heidi’ to this world passed away on July 7, 1901.