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Wolf honored

October 24, 2010

Christa Wolf, one of the most famous writers of the former East Germany, has won the Thomas Mann Prize. Although she was the target of Stasi spying, Wolf remained faithful to East Germany until reunification.

Christa Wolf
Wolf caused anger by keeping silent over her Stasi pastImage: picture-alliance/ dpa

German author Christa Wolf received the coveted Thomas Mann Prize for literature on Sunday in Luebeck in honor of her long literary career.

One of the most famous and prolific authors in the former East Germany, Wolf attracted controversy in 1993 when it was discovered that she had worked for the East German secret police, the so-called Stasi, from 1959 to 1962.

Wolf and her family later became the targets of heavy Stasi spying themselves. Although Wolf remained faithful to the ideals of the German Democratic Republic, she has said she was "no state author."

The 81-year-old Wolf grew up in Landsberg an der Warthe, present-day Gorzow Wielkopolski, Poland. In 1945 she fled with her family to the northeastern German region of Mecklenburg. After studying German literature, she published her first book in 1961.

She is best known for her novels and volumes of short stories, including "Nachdenken ueber Christa T." ("The Quest for Christa T."), "Kindheitsmuster" ("Patterns of Childhood"), "Kassandra" ("Cassandra") and "Medea."

Her latest work, "Leibhaftig" (2002) details the struggles of a woman in a 1980s East German hospital awaiting medication from the West. The novel, like much of her work, centers on themes of the former East Germany, fascism, feminism and self-discovery.

For the honor, Wolf takes home 25,000 euros ($34,900) from the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts (BASK) and the city of Luebeck.

Previous authors to win the Thomas Mann Prize include German literary giants Guenther Grass and Siegfried Lenz.

Author: David Levitz (AP, dpa)

Editor: Martin Kuebler