1970 - 1980: The meddlesome Nobel laureate

Böll is elected president of West Germany's PEN.

Publication of the novel "Group Portrait with Lady". At the 38th meeting of the International PEN Club in Dublin, Böll is elected president. He organises a public campaign appealing to the US government to drop proceedings against civil rights activist Angela Davis.

Heinrich Böll is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

"Group Portrait with Lady" is selected as book of the month in the USA. In reaction to the increasing persecution of writers and intellectuals worldwide, Böll appeals to politicians in East and West alike to "finally abandon the hypocritical concept of non-intervention into other countries' domestic affairs."

Alexander Solzhenitsyn is arrested by Soviet authorities and, following international protests, expatriated from the Soviet Union. He comes to Germany where he stays with Böll. Publication of the novella “The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum” that deals with the overreaction against left-wing terrorism and the nefarious role played by the tabloid press.

Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta film Böll’s “The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum”.

Annemarie and Heinrich Böll leave the Catholic Church without, as they stress, ‘falling away from the faith’.

Böll’s novel “Group Portrait with a Lady” is filmed and entered into the Cannes Film Festival.

An international committee of writers, including Böll, asks South Korea’s president to pardon author Kim Chi-ha who, for years, has been held in solitary confinement for his political stance.

Böll comes out in support for the newly created humanitarian organisation "A Ship for Vietnam" that is trying to rescue Vietnamese boat people.
Böll is supposed to receive the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, yet rejects the honour.
In December Böll travels to Ecuador, where, after suffering vascular disease in his right leg, he requires surgery in Quito.

After his return to Germany, Böll requires additional surgery.
After meeting with a delegation of Bolivian women, Heinrich Böll demands that an international commission investigate the human rights situation in the country.