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Albania’s writer Ismail Kadare awarded Neustadt Prize

TIRANA, Albania — The U.S Embassy in Tirana on Monday said that Albanian novelist Ismail Kadare has been awarded the Neustadt International Prize for Literature.

The announcement posted on the embassy’s Facebook page said the Neustadt Prize and Festival, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is a celebration of international books and culture sponsored by World Literature Today and will be hosted by the University of Oklahoma in a ceremony to be held online later this month.

Kadare, 84, a long-time nominee for the Nobel Literature Prize, has been well-known as a novelist and poet since the 1960s when Albania was governed by the communist regime of late communist dictator Enver Hoxha.

Kadare became internationally known with his “The general of the dead army” novel published in 1963.

Only months before a students’ protest in December 1990 installed political pluralism, Kadare flew to France asking for political asylum. During the post-communist period since then, he has resisted calls from different political parties or politicians to become the country’s president. He has mainly lived in Paris and temporarily in Tirana too.

France has made him a foreign associate of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences and also Commander of the Legion of Honor.

Kadare has been awarded with a number of international prizes for his works, including the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca, the Herder Prize, the Man Booker International Prize, the Prince of Asturias Award of Arts, the Jerusalem Prize and the Park Kyong-ni Prize.

Most of Kadare's about 80 novels, plays, screenplays, poetry, essays or story collections have been translated into different languages.

Llazar Semini, The Associated Press

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