Heinrich Böll (born in 1917 in Cologne, died in 1985 in Langenbroich) grew up in a Catholic milieu. After he interrupted an apprenticeship as a bookseller and was enrolled on the National Socialist compulsory labour service, he went to university to study German language and literature and Classical Philology in 1939. At the beginning of the war, he was conscripted into the army. He was demobbed in 1945, returned to Cologne, took up his studies again, and published his first short stories in 1947 then the novel Der Zug war pünktlich (1949). From summer 1951, he worked as a freelance writer. From 1970-1972, he was President of the PEN Centre in the Federal Republic of Germany. He was awarded numerous prizes, amongst them the Georg Büchner Award (1976) and the Nobel Prize for Literature (1972).