Ismail Kadare biography

Author Biography  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Ismail Kadare
Sophie Bassouls

Ismail Kadare

How to pronounce Ismail Kadare: IS-mail ka-DA-reh

Ismail Kadare Biography

Albanian writer Ismail Kadare was born in Gjirokaster, Albania in 1936; his father worked in the civil service.   He studied at the Faculty of History and Philology at the University of Tirana, graduating with a teaching diploma in 1956, before moving to Moscow to study at the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute, where he stayed until 1960 when relations between Albania and the Soviet Union soured. 

His first collection of poetry was published when he was 18.  His first novel, The General of the Dead Army, was published when he was 27. 

Although some people viewed him as a dissident during the communist era, he disagrees.  In an interview on Albanian TV in 2006 he was asked whether he had ever tried to present himself as a dissident, to which he replied "Absolutely not. Others have said this, and I could not do anything when foreign journalists wrote "The dissident author Ismail Kadare...".

He was a family friend of Enver Hoxha (1908-1985), Albania's dictator for 40 years, and was at one time a delegate in the one-party parliament (1970).   He was the only writer in Communist Albania whose writings were not prohibited (although he was forbidden from writing for three years during a crack-down in the '70s) and some of his writings appear to support the regime.  One such work is The Great Winter which he describes as "the price I had to pay for freedom".  Other works are clearly not in favor, for example What Are These Mountains Thinking About, is said to be one of the clearest expressions of Albanian self-image under the communist dictatorship.

In short, in a society in which all arts were completely and ruthlessly controlled by the state, Kadare trod a fine line.  In his own words "dissidence was a position no one could occupy, even for a few days, without facing the firing squad. On the other hand, my books themselves constitute a very obvious form of resistance."

In October 1990, shortly before the fall of communism in Albania, he sought and was granted asylum in France.  He now divides his time between Paris and Tirana, the capital of Albania.  His work has been published in over 40 countries and in 2005 he was awarded the inaugural Booker International Prize and the Prix Mondial Cino Del Duca (a French literary prize that recognizes an author whose work conveys a message of modern humanism).

Several of his novels have been published in the US, including The Pyramid, The Three-Arched Bridge, The Concert, The Palace of Dreams, The File on H, Elegy For Kosovo and Spring Flowers, Spring Frost.



This bio was last updated on 03/20/2016. We try to keep BookBrowse's biographies both up to date and accurate, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's a tough task. So, please help us - if the information about this author is out of date or inaccurate, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know. Authors and publishers: If you wish to make changes to a bio, send the complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by Ismail Kadare at BookBrowse
The Fall of the Stone City jacket Agamemnon's Daughter jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Ismail Kadare but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Yasmina Khadra

    Yasmina Khadra

    Yasmina Khadra is the pseudonym of the former Algerian army officer Mohammed Moulessehoul.

    Moulessehoul, an officer in the Algerian army, adopted a woman's pseudonym to avoid military censorship. Despite the publication of ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Agamemnon's Daughter

    Try:
    The Swallows of Kabul
    by Yasmina Khadra

  • Milan Kundera

    Milan Kundera

    The Franco-Czech novelist Milan Kundera was born in Brno and has lived in France, his second homeland, for more than twenty years. He is the author of the several books including The Joke (1967), Life is Elsewhere (1969), ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Agamemnon's Daughter

    Try:
    Ignorance
    by Milan Kundera

We recommend 6 similar authors

View all 6 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Smiling Man
    The Smiling Man
    by Joseph Knox
    Joseph Knox's latest turns on a simple premise: an unidentified and unidentifiable murdered man is ...
  • Book Jacket: The Heavens
    The Heavens
    by Sandra Newman
    I've been a big fan of Sandra Newman's writing ever since reading her 2014 novel The Country of Ice ...
  • Book Jacket: Sugar Run
    Sugar Run
    by Mesha Maren
    Mesha Maren's debut novel is a plunge into the depths of the dark Southern gothic with pulsing and ...
  • Book Jacket: Code Name Lise
    Code Name Lise
    by Larry Loftis
    Odette Sansom (1912 – 1995), a Frenchwoman married to a British man and living in the English ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A People's History of Heaven
    by Mathangi Subramanian

    A story of love and friendship, and fighting for the places we love.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    American Princess
    by Stephanie Marie Thornton

    Rated 4.9 stars by BookBrowse members - one of the highest scores of all time!
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
Girls Burn Brighter
by Shobha Rao

An extraordinary and heart-rending tale of two girls with all the odds against them.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Book Club Giveaway!
Win The Summer Country

Win up to 12 copies to share with friends or your book club!

A sweeping epic of lost love, lies, jealousy, and rebellion set in colonial Barbados.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D T T! Full S A!

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.