Hungarian Nobel laureate Imre Kertesz dies aged 86

Imre Kertesz, the Hungarian writer and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2002, died on Thursday at the age of 86, news agency MTI reported, citing his publisher in Hungary.

Kertesz, a Holocaust survivor, was awarded the accolade "for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history," the official Nobel Prize website said.

He passed away in his home in Budapest after fighting a long illness. His German-based publisher Rowohlt has also confirmed his death.

Born of Jewish descent in Budapest in 1929, he spent time as a teenager in the Nazi concentration camps Auschwitz and Buchenwald before they were liberated at the end of World War II.

His experience of war and suffering heavily influenced his best-known work, Fatelessness, which charts a 15-year-old boy's experience of life in the camps.

"Even if I am talking about something completely different, I am talking of Auschwitz. I am a medium for the ghost of Auschwitz; Auschwitz speaks through me," he wrote in his Galley Diary.

His writing on the deaths of almost 600,000 Hungarian Jews made him a controversial figure in his home country.

In 2002, he became the first Hungarian to win the coveted Nobel Prize in Literature. He was living in Berlin at the time.

He moved back to Budapest in 2012, several years after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. The illness dealt a huge blow to his work as a writer.

In 2014, he was given Hungary's prestigious Order of Saint Stephen knighthood.

Last update: Thu, 31/03/2016 - 12:35

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