Ismail Kadare, 1936 – 2024

Remembering icon of international literature Ismail Kadare.

Photography © Aldo Bonata

Vintage is saddened to hear of the death of our author Ismail Kadare. Born in 1936 in the mountain town of Gjirokaster, near Albania’s Greek border, Kadare was the country’s best-known writer. Translations of his novels have appeared in more than forty countries and he was awarded the inaugural Man Booker International Prize in 2005, the Jerusalem Prize in 2015, the Park Kyong-ni Prize in 2019 and the Neustadt Prize in 2020. 

A novelist, poet, essayist, screenwriter and playwright, since the appearance of The General of the Dead Army in 1965 Kadare created works that made up a panorama of Albanian history linked by a constant meditation on the nature and human consequences of dictatorship. His early books brought him into frequent conflict with the Albanian authorities, and in 1990 he sought political asylum in France, in later years splitting his time between Paris and Tirana. Alongside The General of the Dead Army, Kadare’s other notable works include The Siege, The Ghost Rider, Broken April, The Palace of Dreams, The Pyramid, The File on H, The Three-Arched Bridge, Three Elegies for Kosovo, Spring Flowers, Spring Frost, The Successor and The Doll.

Harvill Secker’s Publishing Director, Liz Foley, said, ‘We have been honoured to publish Ismail Kadare’s work – most recently with his gripping novel about the relationship between writers and tyranny, A Dictator Calls, translated by John Hodgson. A giant of international literature, many of his works are already considered classics and will continue to be read far into the future.’