Heinrich Theodor Böll (December 21, 1917 – July 16, 1985) was one of Germany's foremost post-World War II writers. Böll was awarded the Georg Büchner Prize in 1967 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1972.

Böll was born in Cologne, Germany, to a Catholic, pacifist family that later opposed the rise of Nazism. He refused to join the Hitler Youth during the 1930s. He was apprenticed to a bookseller before studying German at the University of Cologne. Conscripted into the Wehrmacht, he served in France, Romania, Hungary and the Soviet Union, and was wounded four times before being captured by Americans in April 1945 and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.

Böll became a full-time writer at the age of 30. His first novel, Der Zug war pünktlich (The Train Was on Time), was published in 1949. Many other novels, short stories, radio plays and essay collections followed, and in 1972 he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was the first German-born author to receive this award since Nelly Sachs in 1966.

Böll was President of PEN International, the worldwide association of writers and the oldest human rights organisation, between 1972-1973.

His work has been translated into more than 30 languages, and he remains one of Germany's most widely read authors.

Heinrich Böll

 
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