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Friday, 12 April, 2002, 18:23 GMT 19:23 UK
Posthumous honour for author
Mr Sebald worked at Norwich's University of East Anglia
Mr Sebald worked at Norwich's University of East Anglia
German author Winfried Georg Sebald, who died in a car crash in December aged 57, has been honoured with the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for his novel Austerlitz.

The prize, totalling 10,000, was presented to his translator Anthea Bell at a ceremony at London's Royal Festival Hall on Thursday.


This is a great book by a great writer

The Independent's Boyd Tonkin
Sebald was killed in a crash with a lorry in Norwich. His daughter, who was also in the car, escaped with minor injuries.

Austerlitz tells the tale of a young boy who is sent to foster parents in Wales, who then erase all traces of his identity.

The novel beat off competition from five other shortlisted authors.

Boyd Tonkin, the literary editor of the Independent newspaper and one of the judges, said Sebald was deserved to win.

Austerlitz beat off competition from five other authors
Austerlitz beat off competition from five other authors
"He was a uniquely gifted author whose work has touched readers across boundaries of language and culture," Mr Tonkin said.

"In his academic career he championed the practice of translation in this country.

"Austerlitz shows that his irreplaceable talents were still moving in new directions.

"This is a great book by a great writer."

The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize honours works of fiction which have been translated into English from another language and published in the UK.

Impressed

Translations account for less than 3% of books published in the UK, compared with about 30% in other European countries.

Sebald was a professor of European Literature at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

Sebald lived in Norwich since 1987
Sebald lived in Norwich since 1987
He had already impressed the literary world with his books based on tragic events of the last 200 years.

Born in Wertach im Allgau in Germany, Sebald studied German language and literature in Freiburg, Switzerland and in Manchester.

He became assistant lecturer at the University of Manchester in 1966 and moved to the UK permanently in 1970 when he began teaching at the University of East Anglia.

He had been Professor of European Literature since 1987 and lived in Norwich with his wife.

His other books include Vertigo, Europe, the Past & the Trials of Knowing and Rings of Saturn.

Anthea Bell has previously translated a variety of works including non-fiction, literary and popular fiction.

See also:

29 Jan 02 | Arts
Franzen leads book awards list
15 Dec 01 | England
Author dies in road crash
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