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Born in 1952 in Lowrin, a village in the Romanian province of Banat, Richard Wagner, a member of the German-speaking minority of the Banater Schwaben, studied German and Romanian literature in Temeschwar, Romania, and was a member of the Aktionsgruppe Banat, a literary and political association of young authors of the German minority, which was dissolved in 1975 by the Romanian Secret Service Securitate. Working as a teacher of German and as a journalist, he published poems and short stories in Romania until he was denied the right to publish and had to emigrate in 1987 to West Germany. Since that time he has published several volumes of poetry, short stories, novels, and essays. In 2000 he was awarded the prize of the literary magazine Neue deutsche Literatur.