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First, we meet the winner. The only Albanian writer on this list, and one with an enviable international reputation, Kadare was born in Gjirokastra and has been a force in literature for over three decades now. He started with verse in the 1950s, setting the pace for renewal in Albanian poetry with My Century (Shekulli im, 1961).

By the 1960s, he had moved to prose, becoming a master of the idiom in a short span of time. Through the 1970s and 1980s, his work continued to shape modern thought in Albania, the sole ray of light under the dictatorship of Enver Hoxha.

In 1990, Kadare applied for political asylum in France. His years in exile have led to more success, and a great deal of recognition. For seekers of his truth, the collected works are now available in Albanian and French, spread across ten volumes.

And yes, given his win today, we can expect a lot more translations soon.

Photograph: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

Also See: A Muse passes in the Ages

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