Heinrich Bï¿½ll was born in Cologne, Germany on December 21, 1917. He studied German at the University of Cologne. He was drafted into military service in 1938 shortly after he finished his schooling and served several years in the infantry before his demobilization in 1945. His first novel, Der Zug war pï¿½nktlich (The Train Was on Time), was published in 1949. His other works include Billiards at Half-Past Nine, The Clown, Absent without Leave, Enter and Exit, and The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum. He received numerous awards including the Georg Bï¿½chner Prize in 1967 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1972. He died on July 16, 1985 at the age of 67.
Hugo Hamilton was born and grew up in Dublin. He is the author of six highly acclaimed novels: 'Surrogate City', 'The Last Shot' and 'The Love Test' (Faber); 'Headbanger' and 'Sad Bastard' (Secker); one collection of short stories; and the internationally acclaimed memoir, 'The Speckled People'.