Born in Danzig, Germany (now Gdansk, Poland) Günter Grass was educated at Danzig Volksschule and Gymnasium, and went to art college after serving as a soldier in the Second World War, where he was held as a POW.
Grass trained as a sculptor and stonemason and has also worked as a jazz musician and political speechwriter for the mayor of Berlin.
The publication of The Tin Drum catapulted Grass to the forefront of European fiction. Since that novel his work has moved from fantastical symbolism towards political activism including Cat and Mouse, Dog Years and Crabwalk. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.