Ismail Kadare (Albanian pronunciation: , also spelled Ismaïl Kadaré in French; born 28 January 1936) is an Albanian novelist, poet, essayist and playwright. During the communist regime he was a member of the People's Assembly for 12 years (1970–82), and deputy chairman of the Democratic Front. He started writing poetry until the publication of his first novel The General of the Dead Army, which made him a leading literary figure in Albania and famous internationally. In 1996, he became a foreign associate of the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques of France.
In 1992, he was awarded the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca; in 1998, the Herder Prize; in 2005, he won the inaugural Man Booker International Prize; in 2009, the Prince of Asturias Award of Arts; in 2015, the Jerusalem Prize, and in 2016, he was a Commandeur de la Légion d'Honneur recipient.
Kadare is regarded by some as one of the greatest European writers and intellectuals of the 20th century and, in addition, as a universal voice against totalitarianism. Critical opinion is divided as to whether Kadare should be considered to have been a dissident or a conformist during the Communist period. Some academic commentators now regard Kadare's depiction of Albania under the Ottoman Empire as indebted to communist-era Orientalist artistic production, condemning it as Eurocentric, essentialist, fundamentalist and anti-modernist, giving rise to Islamophobia and racism.