Deaths of Grass and Galeano

Deaths of Grass and Galeano

Tributes have been paid to “one of the giants of world literature” Gunter Grass, who died today (13th April) aged 87.

The Nobel Prize-winning German novelist was the author of The Tin Drum, first published in 1959.

Geoffrey Mulligan, Grass’ long-time editor at Harvill Secker, said: “Whereas most people would be delighted to excel in one artistic discipline, Gunter Grass was an accomplished artist, sculptor, poet, playwright and novelist. In person he was funny, generous and wonderful company.

“He was one of the giants of world literature. Having recently edited a new translation of The Tin Drum it was hard to believe that this was a first novel. It is a book for the ages.”

Grass’ German publisher Steidl confirmed that he died this morning in hospital.

Grass was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1999, with the prize praising him as a writer "whose frolicsome black fables portray the forgotten face of history". The committee said that when The Tin Drum was published “it was as if German literature had been granted a new beginning after decades of linguistic and moral destruction”.

“Here he comes to grips with the enormous task of reviewing contemporary history by recalling the disavowed and the forgotten: the victims, losers and lies that people wanted to forget because they had once believed in them,” the prize committee said, adding that “it is not too audacious to assume that The Tin Drum will become one of the enduring literary works of the 20th century”.

Meanwhile Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano has also died, El Pais has reported. Galeano, who was 74, had lung cancer and was admitted to hospital last week, said the newspaper.

His books included Open Veins of Latin America (Serpent’s Tail), which was first published in 1971 and explored Latin America’s exploitation at the hands of foreign powers.