Ismail Kadare is born on January 28, 1936, in museum city of Gjirokastra, Albania. Studies languages and literature at the University of Tirana. Graduates in 1956 with a teacher's diploma. Continues his studies at the Gorky Institute of World Literature in Moscow until relations between Albania and the Soviet Union sour in 1960. Publishes poetry from the 50s. He depicts Albanian sentiment during Enver Hoxha's dictatorship, and is credited with introducing love lyrics to the Albanian canon. The publication of Kadare's first novel, The General of the Dead Army, in 1963 marks the start of his peculiar celebrity as Albania's most prominent writer and the dictatorship's most visible adversary. He continues to write allegorical stories about his homeland, occasionally crossing the line. Kadare is a People's Assembly delegate in 1970, which allows him to travel freely and publish abroad. But after a politically satirical poem is released in 1975, Kadare is forbidden to publish for three years. In October 1990 - two months before the fall of communism in Albania - Kadare goes into exile in France. The next year he publishes The Concert, about Albania's break with China. The novel is named the best of the year by the French literary magazine Lire. By the end of the 20th century he is published in 40 countries. After years as one of the favourites to win a Nobel Prize, Kadare wins the first Man International Booker in June 2005. Chief judge John Carey says the extraordinary feat of publishing for decades under a harsh regime gave Kadare the edge over Roth, Grass, Updike, Lessing, McEwan, Spark and Garcia Marquez - writers from 'more peaceful backgrounds'. 'I did something entirely normal,' Kadare says. 'I just did it in an abnormal country.' Selected works: The General of the Dead Army (1963), The Wedding (1968), The Castle (1970), The Great Winter (1977), Broken April (1978), The Palace of Dreams (1981), The Concert (1988), Albanian Spring (1991), The Pyramid (1991), L'ombre (1994) Elegy for Kosovo (2000), Spring Flowers, Spring Frost (2002), The File on H (2002), The Successor (2006).