First Man Booker International Prize Won by Albanian
Ismail Kadaré beat an international contingent of literary heavy-hitters that included Gabriel García Márquez, Günter Grass, Philip Roth, Muriel Spark, Doris Lessing and Ian McEwan to win the first Man Booker International Prize for Literature.
Kadaré's work was censored for decades in his native Albania, and was published elsewhere in Europe by smuggling his work to France in the 1980's reports The Independent. His books are now sold in 40 countries. Kadaré has lived in France since 1990.
"I am a writer from the Balkan Fringe, a part of Europe which has long been notorious exclusively for news of human wickedness - armed conflicts, civil wars, ethnic cleansing, and so on.
My firm hope is that European and world opinion may henceforth realise that this region, to which my country, Albania, belongs, can also give rise to other kinds of news and be the home of other kinds of achievement, in the field of the arts, literature and civilisation," said Kadaré.
This is the first annual Man Booker International Prize, which honors a writer's body of work. The writer may be from any country as long as his or her work is available in English. The £ 60,000 prize will be awarded at a ceremony in London in August.
For more information on Albanian writers translated into English, go here. Check out or buy Kadaré's especially relevant The Palace of Dreams; check out more of his books here.