Writer and UEA lecturer W G Sebald celebrated in new film

The life and work of a former Norwich lecturer and celebrated writer is the inspiration behind a documentary being brought to the big screen by a Grammy-nominated film maker.

W G Sebald, who was known to friends as Max, taught at the University of East Anglia for more than 30 years until his death in a car accident in 2001.

Patience (After Sebald) has been made to coincide with the 10th anniversary of that crash on the A146 near Norwich.

In it, film maker and director Grant Gee follows the journey taken by the author through East Anglia – taking in Lowestoft and Southwold among other places – in his book The Rings of Saturn.

Mr Gee, who has twice been nominated for Grammy awards, said the book was unclassifiable with elements of travel writing, local history, memoirs and fiction all combined.

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'What starts off as an everyday summer holiday walk becomes a very moving, very strange story about the end of all things,' he said. 'It's very melancholy but also very moving and uplifting. My film is a film about going on a pilgrimage in the footsteps of Sebald.'

The independent film features a host of scenes of the East Anglian landscape together with commentary from artists, film makers and writers discussing the author's life and work.

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Contributors include former poet laureate and UEA colleague Andrew Motion and novelist Rick Moody.

Sebald, who was born in Germany in 1944, moved to Norfolk in 1970 to take up the role of German lecturer at the UEA. He began living in Wymondham and later moved to Poringland.

Jo Catling, who worked with Sebald at the UEA from 1994 until his death, said Norfolk and East Anglia played a big role in the writer's work.

Speaking about The Rings of Saturn, she said: 'As someone who grew up in Norfolk myself, I find it fascinating the way the book makes you look at the familiar landscape with new eyes.'

Dr Catling, a lecturer in the university's school of literature, drama and creative writing, said Sebald was an inspiration to generations of students, colleagues and readers.

Patience (After Sebald) has already been shown at a number of film festivals but was officially released on Friday in London.

It will now tour UK cinemas with a screening at Cinema City in Norwich on March 4.


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