Ende’s return to Munich reminded him of his cultural roots, and he decided to participate more actively in the city’s cultural life. During the mid-1980s he attended countless cultural events and conducted numerous readings in Bavarian bookshops and schools. On 31st October 1986 he was awarded the Literary Medallion of the City of Munich for his Bavarian fairy-tale Der Goggolori.
On 16th December 1986 Helmuth Ende, Edgar Ende’s brother, died in Munich at the age of eighty-four. Michael Ende was devastated. The Ende family was a small unit, and Michael had been very close to his uncle, who had lent him practical and moral support throughout his adolescence. After Helmuth Ende’s death, Michael was left without any surviving relatives and felt very alone.
In addition to being the year in which Michael Ende was awarded the German Fantasy Fiction Prize, 1987 saw the screening of a ZDF TV documentary on Edgar Ende. The documentary was timed to coincide with a touring exhibition of Ende’s paintings that took in the Lenbachhaus in Munich, the city galleries of Hamburg and Mannheim and the von-der-Heydt museum in Wuppertal. Most importantly of all, though, 1987 was a year of changes on the domestic front. Mariko Sato and Ende set up home in Sendlinger Street in an apartment opposite the Asam church. The flat looked out over the cityscape of Munich and was filled with Japanese furniture. A long broad table proved an ideal place for the couple’s numerous friends to engage in late-night discussions about God, the world and everything – including books.