Ismail Kadare Takes 1st International Man Booker Prize

Earlier today Albanian novelist Ismail Kadare was awarded the first Man Booker International Prize. In a year when translated literature is starting to get the attention it’s due, it’s great to see Kadare chosen over more notable characters, such as Margaret Atwood or John Updike. On being named the winner of this inaugural prize, Kadare offered the following statement:

“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.”

You can find a sample of Ismail Kadare’s poetry online here or read more literature from the Balkans in the January 2004 issue of Words Without Borders.

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