TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albanian novelist Ismail Kadare was awarded the Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor title by French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday.
Macron arrived in Tirana after a summit of European Union leaders with Western Balkan countries earlier in the day. He didn’t attend the talks because of the attack in which a teacher was fatally stabbed and three other people were wounded at a school in northern France.
In a long speech describing Kadare’s different novels throughout his writing career and how he had resisted Albania’s communist government, Macron awarded the title “for his works, his courage to rise up against a dictatorial system … and a defender of freedom, a great writer of humanity.”
Kadare, 87, has long been mentioned as a possible contender for the Nobel Literature Prize. He has been well-known internationally since his “The General of the Dead Army” novel was published in 1963 when Albania was governed by the communist government of late dictator Enver Hoxha.
Before Albania installed political pluralism after a students’ protest in December 1990, Kadare flew to France asking for political asylum. He lived in Paris and recently returned to Tirana.
France has made him a foreign associate of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences and also Commander of the Legion of Honor.
Kadare has been awarded a number of international prizes for his works, which include more than 80 novels, plays, screenplays, poetry, essays or story collections translated into different languages.
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