Ismail Kadare is an Albanian novelist, poet, and essayist who was born in 1936, in Gjirokastra, Albania. He is widely regarded as one of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century in Albania and the Balkans, and his work has been translated into more than 40 languages.
Kadare spent his childhood in Gjirokastra, a town in southern Albania that is known for its Ottoman-era architecture and cultural heritage. He attended the University of Tirana, where he studied literature and history. After graduation, he worked as a teacher and a journalist before devoting himself to writing full-time.
Kadare’s first book, a collection of poetry titled “The Evening,” was published in 1954 when he was just 18 years old. He went on to publish numerous novels, short stories, and essays over the next several decades, including The General of the Dead Army (1963), The Palace of Dreams (1981), OVID’s favorite The Pyramid (1992), Broken April” (1978), which won the Man Booker International Prize in 2005, and many more.
Throughout his career, Kadare has explored themes of power, politics, history, and identity in his writing. His work often draws on Albania’s complex history and the country’s relationship with its neighbors and the wider world. He has been praised for his ability to capture the complexity of Albanian society and culture in his writing, as well as for his masterful use of allegory and metaphor.
Despite the challenges of writing under a repressive Communist regime in Albania, Kadare’s work continued to be widely read and admired both in Albania and internationally. In 1990, he left Albania and settled in France, where he continues to live and write to this day.
Kadare has received numerous honors and awards for his work, including the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Literature in 2009 and the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1996.