Albanian writer to receive Jerusalem Prize

The International Book Fair literary award goes to human rights writer Ismail Kadare

Albanian writer Ismail Kadera to win Jerusalem Prize (Courtesy Ismail Kadera)
Albanian writer Ismail Kadera to win Jerusalem Prize (Courtesy Ismail Kadera)

Albanian human rights writer Ismail Kadare will receive this year’s Jerusalem Prize at the capital’s annual International Book Fair, held next month.

The $10,000 prize is awarded to writers whose work emphasizes freedom of the individual in society. Previous winners included Bertrand Russell, Arthur Miller, Haruki Murakami and Ian McEwan.

Kadare, known for writing about Albania’s totalitarian government, has works translated into over 30 languages. Only three of his books, “The Pyramid,” “The General of the Dead Army,” and “Ancient,” are available in Hebrew.

The book fair jury stated that Kadare received the award, in part, because his themes are relatable and universal.

“Kadare is an ironic storyteller who brilliantly writes about the implicit and indirect. He writes about collective guilt,” wrote the jury. “Although his writing and characters are mostly local, the meaning and importance are undoubtedly universal.”

The 27th International Book Fair, February 8 through 12, will be held this year at the city’s First Station complex, shifting from its usual home in the International Convention Center. It is considered the country’s largest literary fair, held every two years and with 400 publishers from over 20 countries in attendance.

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