A German author, poet, and children's writer, he is best known for Das war der Hirbel, a work that deals with childhood struggles, and for Oma, a children's novel that discusses the topics of aging and death.
He studied art before working as a journalist. He published his debut poetry collection in 1953.
His autobiographical work, Nachgetragene Liebe, deals with his childhood memories of his father.
His father died in a Russian POW camp in 1945, and his mother committed suicide a year later.
He wrote a fictionalized biography of musical composer Franz Schubert.