Ismail Kadare

  • 25 July 2006

This article is from 2006.

In Edinburgh last June, Albanian author Ismail Kadare was handed the inaugural Man International Booker Prize beating off the stiff challenge of better known authors such as Doris Lessing, Ian McEwan and Muriel Spark.

Kadare's story is an inspiration for all those writers struggling away under a dictatorship. Born in the museum city of Gjirokastra, in southern Albania, he grew up witnessing the occupation of his home country by fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and the Soviet

While his attitude towards Hoxha was regarded by many as ambiguous, in 1975 he upset the authorities with a satirical poem and was forbidden to publish for three years. Kadare has admitted that some of his later work was written in an attempt to avoid further confrontation with the
authorities though by the early 90s, he was back pillorying the now deceased Hoxha in the satirical drama. The receipt of the Booker prize has surely made the hassles well worth it. (Brian Donaldson)

Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888, 19 Aug, 11.30am, £7 (£5).

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