Author WG Sebald killed in road accident

The author and academic Winfried (Max) Georg Sebald has died in a road accident at the age of 57.
Click to follow
The Independent Online

The German-born professor of European literature at the University of East Anglia received critical acclaim for Austerlitz earlier this year. His other books included The Emigrants and The Rings of Saturn.

Sebald's daughter, Anna, was in serious condition after the head-on collision with a lorry in Norwich on Friday.

Andrew Motion, the poet laureate, writes:

I first met Max six years ago when The Emigrants came out and, frankly, hardly any of us had heard of him. He was an extraordinarily original writer and was only just getting the recognition he deserved. There is no one like him when it comes to pulling together lots of things to make a whole that is elusive but perfectly clear. He had total command of the blurred line between autobiography and fiction and his works have an extraordinary visual sense. They're wandering and peregrinatory, but brimming with charm and quiet irony.

Max had a Bismarckian appearance and occasionally an Eeyore-ish, lugubrious manner. Students were enchanted by him. He was not well enough known here, the result of a combined British hostility to age, experimentation and Europe. The Emigrants and The Rings of Saturn are fantastic books but we are slow on the uptake in Britain. It says something about our prejudice that the only good new people are deemed to be good new young people.

His books were very beautifully published, but maybe not with a great drum roll. He was a truly European writer who broke through barriers in literature and cast experience in a new way. He was a marvellous colleague and a dear friend, a truly delightful person and a great teacher.