German novelist Gunter Grass has been proclaimed the winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize for Literature.

The 71-year-old author was cited particularly by the Swedish Academy for his 1959 novel The Tin Drum, which, it said, ushered in a new era for German literature after "decades of linguistic and moral destruction."

The novel, along with Cat and Mouse and The Dog Years, published between 1959 and 1963, formed the Danzig Trilogy, an examination of the rise of Nazism, wartime horrors and postwar German guilt. Grass has been a sometimes controversial figure in his native land, but the academy noted that the award was for his body of work and did not reflect upon the author's political views.

Most of Grass's work is in print from Harcourt, his longtime American publisher, but The Tin Drum is also available in Random and Knopf editions, and the entire Danzig Trilogy is in a Pantheon edition. His latest novel, My Century, is due from Harcourt in December.