Monday, April 20, 2009

British Author J. G. Ballard Dead at 78

From Wikinews, Monday, April 20, 2009

British author James Graham Ballard, known as J. G. Ballard has died at the age of 78. Ballard died on Sunday after a long battle with prostate cancer.

According to a spokesperson, Ballard had been sick "for several years" and that it was "with great sadness" to have to make the announcement of his death. He died at the home of his long-time partner.

Ballard is best known for writing the novels Crash in 1973 and Empire of the Sun in 1984 which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Both books went on to be major motion pictures.

"He was a colonial figure in some senses. He had grown up in Shanghai and had very good manners. He was very generous and polite and it took a long while before he would do anything that wasn’t very controlled," said friend and author Iain Sinclair to The Times.

Ballard was born in Shanghai, China in the Shanghai International Settlement in 1930. When he was 12, he and his family were forced to live in a camp run by Japanese forces during World War II. Ballard says that he won't say happy things about his experience in the camp, but also no unpleasant ones either. In an interview with BBC News, Ballard said "I remember a lot of the casual brutality and beatings-up that went on, but at the same time we children were playing a hundred and one games all the time."

In 1946 he moved to the UK with his sister and mother where he began to write. Twenty years later, in the 1960's, he employed himself as a full time writer. He produced his first novel in 1961 titled The Wind from Nowhere and The Drowned World just a year later.

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