Ismail Kadare Named 2015 Jerusalem Prize Winner

Award jury praised the Albanian poet and novelist for the universal importance of his themes. Kadare will accept the prize at the Jerusalem International Book Fair in February.

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Ismail Kadare, in a 2002 file photo. The Jerusalem Prize jury praised Kadare for his “ironic and fascinating storytelling."Credit: Reuters

The Albanian author Ismail Kadare has been selected for this year’s Jerusalem Prize, which he will receive at the opening ceremony of the 2015 Jerusalem International Book Fair, on February 8.

According to the book fair’s website, the prize “is awarded to a writer whose work best expresses and promotes the idea of the ‘freedom of the individual in society.’”

Kadare is a novelist and poet whose works delve into Albanian history people and focus on the themes of freedom and human rights. The 79-year-old became one of Albania’s most renowned authors despite his critiques of the country and its totalitarian regime. Several of Kadare’s novels, which include “The General of the Dead Army,” “The Successor,” “Broken April,” “The Pyramid” and “The Accident,” have been translated into more than 30 languages including Hebrew. At least two dozen have been translated into English. Kadare was the first recipient, in 2005, of the International Man Booker Prize.

The Jerusalem Prize jury praised Kadare for his “ironic and fascinating storytelling,” noting that he “writes about collective guilt and the impenetrable nature of truth. He seeks to expose, while concealing layers of myth and metaphor, unanswerable questions and crimes for which there is no atonement. While his subjects and protagonists are largely local, their significance and importance are universal.”

Previous winners of the Jerusalem Prize include the late philosopher Bertrand Russell and the writers Mario Varga Llosa, Milan Kundera, Simone de Beauvoir, Susan Sontag, Arthur Miller, Haruki Murakami and Ian McEwan.

The 27th Jerusalem International Book Fair will take place between February 8 and February 12. In a departure from tradition, it will be held this year at the capital’s First Station complex rather than at the Jerusalem International Convention Center (Binyanei Ha’uma). There will be hundreds of literary and cultural events, many of them free of charge and open to the public. The fair’s organizers say the full schedule will be posted on the book fair’s website ( within days. The first Jerusalem International Book Fair was held in 1963, and it has been held every two years since 1967.