Budapest | Hungarian author Nobel Literature Prize winner Imre Kertesz has died aged 86 early today in Budapest after a long illness, his publisher said. The Holocaust survivor, who won the Nobel in 2002, passed away at his home, the director of Magveto Publishing, Krisztian Nyary, told AFP.
He was one of the 20th century’s most influential Hungarian writers, not just through his works but through his thoughts and worldview as well. He will remain hugely influential on other writers in years to come, Nyary said. In an interview in 2013, Kertesz revealed that he had Parkinson’s disease.
The son of Jewish parents, Kertesz was born on November 29, 1929 in Budapest. At the age of 14, he was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, before being sent to Buchenwald. Following the liberation of the camps, Kertesz returned to the Hungarian capital where he began working as a journalist for a daily newspaper in 1948.
The Holocaust remained a central theme in several of his best-known works, including his first novel Fatelessness. Published in 1975, the story describes the experiences of a fifteen-year-old boy in the concentration camps of Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Zeitz. Although some have interpreted the book as quasi- autobiographical, the author always disavowed a strong biographical connection.