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Ismail Kadaré


Ismail Kadaré was an Arts student at the University of Tirana, and he completed his studies at the Gorki Institute in Moscow. On his return to Albania in 1960, he worked as a journalist for several literary magazines and started publishing poetry. In 1990 he felt threatened by the agonising dictatorship and took up exile in Paris.

His books -published in French and Albanian and banned in Albania- recount magnificent epics that penetrate the heart of the tragic Albanian identity, torn between East and West. His first novel, The General of the Dead Army (1963), became a best seller and made him known abroad as a writer of great talent. Since then he has published a large number of novels, amongst which , The Rain Drums (1970), Broken April (1978), The Dark Year (1980), The Palace of Dreams (1981), The Monster (1991) and The Blind Firman (1999) are all inspired to a great extent by Albanian legends and history. His best known works also include: The Wedding Procession Turned to Ice (1980), The Pyramid (1992), Spiritus (1996), Elegy for Kosovo (1998), a fundamental work for understanding the drama suffered by the Balkans, and Spring Flowers, Spring Frost (2000), a scathing and tormented vision of the Albanian transition. 

He is a serious contender for the Nobel Prize and is accumulating honours in France: he has been a member of the Academy of Moral Sciences and Politics since 1996 and he was awarded the Legion of Honour in 1997.