Renowned East German author Christa Wolf dead: publisher

1st December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Christa Wolf, one of the best-known authors from former communist East Germany, died on Thursday aged 82 in Berlin following a long illness, her publisher said.

The critically acclaimed and award-winning author of such works as "Divided Heaven", "Cassandra" and "The Quest For Christa T." courted controversy throughout her career and had links to the hated East German Stasi police in the 1960s.

The revelations in 1993 that she had consorted with the despised Stasi three decades earlier forced her into exile in the United States and tarnished her image as a courageous critical voice.

Before then, she had been awarded the coveted Georg Buechner Prize in 1980 and twice scooped East Germany's national literary prize.

As a young woman at the end of World War II, Wolf decided to stay in East Germany and joined the communist party.

Although she occasionally criticised the country's authorities, she never quite gave up her attachment to "the other Germany."

But little by little, she began to break with the official party, starting with her 1968 work "The Quest For Christa T." which tells the story of a woman unable to come to terms with the East Germany of the 1950s and '60s.

After the publication of this book, she was stripped of her duties at the writers' union.

In 1976, she protested forcefully against the expulsion from East Germany of the dissident poet and composer Wolf Biermann.

And later she denounced the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl with her 1987 book "The Incident."

Nevertheless, she remained attached to the regime even as the Berlin Wall was coming down. In 1989, she was still calling for a "humane and genuinely democratic" East Germany.

A close friend of fellow literary lion Gunter Grass, she was married to fellow author Gerhard Wolf and leaves two children.

© 2011 AFP

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