Günter Grass (1927-2015) was a Nobel Prize-winning German novelist, poet, playwright, illustrator, graphic artist, and sculptor. He was born in the Free City of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland). Since 1945, he lived in West Germany, but in his fiction he frequently returned to the Danzig of his childhood. He always identified himself as a Kashubian.
Grass wrote a number of novels using World War II and Nazi war crimes as a backdrop. His big breakthrough came in 1959 with The Tin Drum. The city of Danzig/Gdańsk and its alternating German and Polish affiliation serve as the background in several of his writings. Characteristic of his literary style is the way he mixes autobiographical and historical elements with fictional events that together form an ironic social satire.
Grass was a political activist and did not hesitate to comment on contemporary events. Among other things, he criticized the 1961 erection of the Berlin Wall.