Gunter Grass, Nobel Laureate, Dies Aged 87. The death has occurred of Gunter Grass, widely regarded as perhaps the outstanding writer to have come from postwar Germany. Other German writers who wrote in the decades after the war, such as Siegfried Lenz, and Heinrich Boll didn't have Grass's narrative range, or his striking and thought-provoking literary voice. Probably best known for his astonishing novel 'The Tin Drum', Gunter Grass's writing chronicled Germany's relationship with its past, - especially its wartime past, its relationship with itself, and, above all, its relationship with real, imagined and historical memory. This allowed the immediate past of Germany, - above all the years of The Third Reich - to be addressed and explored and interrogated at a tricky time when it was considered a lot more difficult to do so, as the events described and memories prodded were so much closer to a lived past. His writings were part of the process by which Germans began to interrogate their own past, and showed an especially subtle and nuanced take on varying degrees of complicity with monstrous regimes, along with an acute understanding of the mechanisms of denial and self-delusion, and historical amnesia, both public and private. Of course, Gunter Grass was very much aware of this; he wasn't just an excellent chronicler of his life and times - backlit and hugely influenced by the experience of 20th century history - he was also very much an 'engaged and public intellectual', using the platform his public role and his writings gave him to seek to influence public opinion, (and hence, possibly, public policy). Some came to see him - in his multiple roles - as Germany's conscience. Others argued, that the role of 'publicly outspoken and engaged intellectual' took an increasingly prominent role at the expense of the extraordinarily gifted writer, and that his best work occurred when he managed to fuse the two, with neither role prominent at the expense of the other. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999 - forty years after the publication of 'The Tin Drum'.