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theartsdesk Q&A: Günter Grass | reviews, news & interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: Günter Grass

theartsdesk Q&A: Günter Grass

An unplanned encounter with the great German writer, who died on Monday

Dealing with the past: Günter Grass

The Nobel prize-winning writer, playwright and artist Günter Grass was arguably the best-known German-language author of the second half of the 20th century. Kate Connolly met him in May 2010 in Istanbul where, after attending a series of literary events, Grass was forced to stay on for some days as volcanic ash closed European airports.

Born in 1927 in the port city of Danzig in what is now Gdansk in Poland, he was among the hundreds of thousands of ethnic German refugees who settled in West Germany in 1945. His literary career started with his debut novel, The Tin Drum (1959), which remains his most famous work. It formed the first part of his Danzig Trilogy and is steeped in European magic realism. The book was adapted for the screen by Volker Schlöndorff in 1979. Like many of his novels it deals with the rise of Nazism and the experience of war.

Dealing with past mistakes is a national responsibility, and writers, like myself, carry the responsibility to face past mistakes and to emphasise the importance of facing up to them

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