Ismail Kadare, 1936–, Albanian novelist and poet, widely regarded as his country's most important contemporary writer, b. Gjirokastër, studied Univ. of Tiranë, Gorky Institute of World Literature, Moscow; his time at the latter institution, which sought to produce socialist realist writers, is fictionalized in his Twilight of the Eastern Gods (1978, tr. 2014). Kadare began his career as a journalist, and also wrote poetry, which was first published in the 1950s. During the following decade he increasingly turned to prose and was celebrated in his homeland after the publication of his first novel, The General of the Dead Army (1963, tr. 1972 and 2008), the tale of an Italian general who must retrieve his soldiers' bodies from Albania after World War II. Kadare at first supported Communist dictator Enver Hoxha, but after the mid-1970s he became increasingly critical of the regime and several of his books were banned. After he sought political asylum in France and moved (1990) to Paris, his books became more widely known internationally. Kadare's fiction concerns Albanian history, culture, folklore, and politics and often employs the storytelling techniques of allegory, parable, and fable. His many novels include The Castle (1970, tr. 1974), Chronicle in Stone (1971, tr. 1987), The Three-Arched Bridge (1978, tr. 1991), The Palace of Dreams (1981, tr. 1993), Agamemnon's Daughter (a novella, 1985, tr. 2006), The Concert (1988, tr. 1994), The Pyramid (1991, tr. 1996), Spring Flowers, Spring Frost (2001, tr. 2002), The Successor (2003, tr. 2005), The Fall of the Stone City (2008, tr. 2013), and The Accident (2010, tr. 2010). In 2005 Kadare was awarded the first Man Booker International Prize.