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Ismail Kadare

Born January 28, 1936(1936-01-28)
Gjirokaster, Albania
Occupation Novelist, Poet
Nationality Albania Albanian
Writing period 1954 – present
Literary movement Postmodern literature
Notable work(s) The General of the Dead Army 1963

The Castle 1970
Chronicle in Stone 1971)
Broken April 1978
[1][1][2] The Three-Arched Bridge 1978
The Palace of Dreams 1981
The Concert 1988
The File on H 1990
The Pyramid 1992[3]

Notable award(s) Man Booker International Prize
Prince of Asturias Awards

Ismail Kadare (born January 28, 1936) is an Albanian writer/novelist. In 1996 he became a lifetime member of the French Académie des Sciences morales et Politique, where he replaced the famous philosopher Karl Popper. In 1992, he was awarded the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca; in 2005, he won the inaugural Man Booker International Prize and in 2009 the Prince of Asturias Award of Arts. He has divided his time between Albania and France since 1990. He is a Nobel Prize in Literature candidate.



Ismail Kadare was born in Gjirokastër, Albania in 1936. He first studied at the Faculty of History and Philology at the University of Tirana and later at the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in Moscow. During the terror of the communist regime, Kadaré attacked totalitarianism and the doctrines of socialist realism with subtle allegories, such as "The Palace of Dreams", a political allegory of totalitarianism, set in the Ottoman Empire capital. Published in 1980, the book was almost immediately banned . Kadare's novels draw on Balkan history and legends. They're also pervasively yet obliquely ironic as a result of the need to withstand political scrutiny. Among his most well known books are "Chronicle in stone" (1977), "Broken April" (1978)[1][1][4] , or "The Concert" (1988), considered the best novel of the year 1991 by the French literary magazine Lire. [5].

In 1990, Kadare claimed political asylum in France, issuing statements in favour of democratisation. During the ordeal, he stated that "dictatorship and authentic literature are incompatible... The writer is the natural enemy of dictatorship." When asked, though, he's never claimed to be a Solzhenitsyn, arguing that such a role wasn't readily available under Hoxha's uniquely paranoid and insular regime.

Selected works

Ismail Kadare at a reading, 2007

The following Kadaré titles have been translated into English:

  • Ura me tri harqe (The Three-Arched Bridge, 1978)
  • On the Lay of the Knights (1979)
  • Kush e solli DoruntinĂ«n (Doruntine, 1980)
  • Autobiografia e popullit nĂ« vargje (The Autobiography of the People in Verse, 1980)
  • NĂ«npunĂ«si i pallatit tĂ« Ă«ndrrave (The Palace of Dreams, 1981)
  • Koncert nĂ« fund tĂ« dimrit (The Concert, 1988)
  • Dosja H: roman (The File on H, 1990)
  • Nga njĂ« dhjetor nĂ« tjetrin (Albanian Spring, 1991)
  • La Pyramide (The Pyramid, 1992)[7]
  • Tri kĂ«ngĂ« zie pĂ«r KosovĂ«n (Three Elegies for Kosovo, 1998)
  • Lulet e ftohta tĂ« marsit (Spring Flowers, Spring Frost, 2000)
  • Pasardhsi: roman (The Successor, 2003)
  • Vajza e Agamemnonit (Agamemnon's Daughter, 2003)


Opinions differ on whether Kadare was a dissident or a conformist during the communist period. It is a fact that books such as The Palace of Dreams, are a clear denunciation of the tyranny and absurdity of the communist regime. In a political and literary environment completely and fiercely controlled by the state, Kadare's writing was for many the only window to anything approaching reality, let alone resistance.

On this subject Kadare himself has been quoted as saying that he never claimed to be a dissident, that "dissidence was a position no one could occupy, even for a few days, without facing the firing squad. On the other hand, my books themselves constitute a very obvious form of resistance. In an interview with Blendi Fevziu in Opinion, he added that this polemic was absurd, since he was a writer and a private person free to have his opinions, not someone elected from the people. Therefore he was not accountable to anybody and did not feel like explaining or justifying whether he was a dissident or not. "[8]


Kadare's works have been published in over forty countries and translated in over thirty languages.. In English, his works have usually appeared as secondary translations from the French. He has been a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature and in 2005 he received the inaugural Man Booker International Prize. On June 2009, Kadare was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Liturature . [9] "He has been compared to Gogol, Kafka and Orwell. But Kadare's is an original voice, universal yet deeply rooted in his own soil" - Independent on Sunday.

See also


External links

  • Biography, from 'Books and Writers', by Petri Liukkonen


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