|Biographical detail : ||Novelist.
Ismail has for long been the best-known Albanian writer of his generation, perhaps of all time, and is one of the most remarkable European novelists of the 20th century. He has written numerous novels, books of poetry, essays and memoirs.
In 1970, his novel The General of the Dead Army “took literary Paris by storm” and established his reputation. The novel deals with the bizarre duties of an Italian general sent to Albania to gather the remains of soldiers who had fallen during the war against Greece. The subject of the novel which covers deeper themes, inherited from Greek myths, Shakespeare and the German romantics was translated and turned into a film.
Kadare writing is always set in Albania – even if that sad land sometimes appears disguised as Egypt (The Pyramid: 1992) or the Ottoman Empire (Palace of Dreams: 1981). Broken April (1978), perhaps the most widely-read of his novels in English, is a harrowing narrative of the ancient customs of blood feud.
Translations of Kadare’s novels, including The File on H, which explores Albania’s links to Homeric verse, Broken April, about traditional Albanian blood feuds and The Palace of Dreams, a political allegory of totalitarianism, have been published in more than 40 countries.
Ismail’s new novels portraying post-communist Albania through the lenses of myth and dream (Spring Flowers, Spring Frost: 2000) and retrospective of the mental tortures of life under tyranny (The Successor: 2003) continue to flow.
Ismail Kadare will accept the first Man Booker International Prize, in Edinburgh, end of June 2005.
Ismail, a brilliant student, spent three years in Gorky Institute, Moscow, and returned to Albania in 1961. In 1990, he left his country and sought political asylum in Paris where he was welcomed as an honoured guest and was awarded French nationality.
Since the collapse of the Alia regime in 1991, Ismail has divided his life between Paris and Tirana.
Ismail Kadare was born in Gjinokastra, Albania, near the Greek border, the son of a minor non-communist official and a mother from a wealthier background.