by Alison Flood)
The 86-year-old Nobel prizewinner Günter Grass has told German press that he is unlikely to write another novel.
Speaking to Passauer Neue Presse, the German author said: "I'm 86 now. I don't think I will manage another novel." Grass, who won the Nobel in 1999 for his "frolicsome black fables portray[ing] the forgotten face of history", added: "My health does not allow me to take on projects that will last five or six years and that would be the amount needed to research a novel."
Instead, the author is focusing on drawing and painting with watercolours, he told the regional paper, with some "first texts" already emerging from this "creative activity".
Grass, most famous for his 1959 novel The Tin Drum, and for his revelation in 2006's controversial Peeling the Onion that he joined the Waffen-SS, published a book about the Brothers Grimm in 2010, and another autobiographical title, The Box, in 2008.
More recently, he has stoked debate with a poem about Israel, "What must be said", in which he wrote that "Israel's nuclear power is endangering / Our already fragile world peace". The poem led to Israel barring him from the country for his "attempt to fan the flames of hatred against the state of Israel and its people, and thus to advance the idea to which he publicly affiliated in his past donning of the SS uniform".
Last month, Grass signed his name to a letter condemning state surveillance following Edward Snowden's revelations. "A person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy. To maintain any validity, our democratic rights must apply in virtual as in real space," wrote Grass and over 500 other signatories to the letter.
He also made his views clear on social networking earlier last autumn, telling a Danish website that he was surprised, following Snowden's whistle-blowing, "that millions of people do not distance themselves from Facebook and all that crap, and say, 'I want no part of it'."
He is, he said, unimpressed when his children and grandchildren talk about the social networking site. "I do have certain reservations when one of them tells me 'I am on Facebook [and] have 500 friends'. So I say someone who has 500 friends has no friends," he said, adding that he feels "a bit like a dinosaur".