Albania's Ismail Kadare win top Spanish literature prize

25th June 2009, Comments 0 comments

Albanian writer Ismail Kadare was Wednesday awarded Spain's prestigious Prince of Asturias Prize for literature as "one of the greatest European writers and intellectuals of the 20th century."

Madrid--"Narrator, essayist and poet, Kadare represents the pinnacle of Albanian literature and who, without forgetting his roots, has crossed frontiers to rise up as a universal voice against totalitarianism," the jury said.

"Regarded as one of the greatest European writers of the 20th century, his works have been translated into over forty languages."

Kadare said the award was a "great honour for a writer."

"I am really touched, even more since I have been nominated together with those who I really appreciate," Kadate told AFP.

Kadare, who lives in Paris and Tirana, said he has "worked and lived in a Stalinist, totalitarian country."

"I have always try to make a normal literature in an abnormal country such as Albania," he said.

"My greatest satisfaction is that my work was available to thousands of readers everywhere, this is the only real dream of a writer which I think can be realised," Kadare said.

Born in Albania in 1936, as a boy he witnessed World War II, the occupation of his country by Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, until 1944 when the communist dictatorship of Enver Hoxha was established in Albania.

In 1990, a few months before the collapse of the dictatorship, he left Albania to live in Paris, where he still resides.

"The central theme of his work, expressed in each of his books, is totalitarianism, its mechanisms and the complicities that make it possible," the jury said.

"This literary obsession reaches its climax in 'The Palace of Dreams', published in Albania in 1981, when the communist dictatorship still governed."

The Asturias foundation annually hands out eight awards in the fields of communication and humanities, scientific and technical research, social science, arts, letters, international cooperation, international understanding and sport.

Each of the awards is worth EUR 50,000 (USD 70,000).

Named after Crown Prince Felipe, the awards are presented in the northern Spanish city of Oviedo, capital of the Asturias region, at a glittering ceremony.

Last year's Asturias prize for literature award went to Canadian writer Margaret Atwood.

AFP/ Expatica

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