Ismail Kadare is an Albanian writer who shares his time between his native country and France.
From his Q & A with Luke Sampson for the Financial Times:
What are you most proud of writing?Read the complete interview.
The Palace of Dreams. It was written in 1980 and published a year later, during the blackest period of Albanian tyranny. It was a book opposed to that tyranny.
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What book changed your life?
Macbeth. I read it when I was 11. Although I couldn’t understand everything, I loved it enough that I began to copy it by hand. A year later, I wanted to do the same with Hamlet, which, however, was even more incomprehensible to me.
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Who are your literary influences?
The three peninsulas of Europe: the Apennines, with Dante; the Balkans, with Greek tragedies and medieval Albanian ballads; and the Iberian Peninsula, with Don Quixote. The British Isles (Shakespeare). Russian and central European literature (Kafka).