German author Stefanie Zweig dies in Frankfurt | News | DW | 27.04.2014
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German author Stefanie Zweig dies in Frankfurt

The German-Jewish writer Stefanie Zweig, best known for her autobiographical novel "Nowhere in Africa," has died. She was 81.

On Sunday, the German news agency DPA quoted her nephew as saying the author had died Friday after a "short, serious illness."

Born in 1932 in Leobschütz, now part of Poland, Zweig fled the Nazi persecution of Jews with her family in 1938 to Kenya, where she attended a British school. Africa not only became the base for her upbringing, but also the basis for her fame, with the German edition of her autobiographical novel and best-known work having sold 7.5 million copies since it was published in 1995.

"Germans' longing for Africa is tremendously large," Zweig would later say about her book's success.

Zweig returned to Germany as a teenager in 1947 and worked as a journalist for many years before she began writing novels. Of her more than two dozen books, her two autobiographical works of fiction, "Nowhere in Africa" and the follow-up "Somewhere in Germany," have been translated to English. She titled her memoir "Nirgendwo war Heimat" (Nowhere Was Home).

An adaptation of "Nowhere in Africa" won the 2003 Academy Award for best foreign language film. Though she appreciated the novel's success, Zweig did remind readers that there was more to her output - she even wrote children's books.

"It makes me a little sad when people reduce me to Africa," Zweig once said.

mkg/mz (AP, dpa)