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Dhaka Tribune

Czech-French writer Milan Kundera dies

The novelist, poet and essayist lived in France since his emigration from Communist-ruled Czechoslovakia in 1975

Update : 12 Jul 2023, 08:19 PM

Czech-French writer Milan Kundera, author of "The Unbearable Lightness of Being", has died aged 94, the Milan Kundera Library said on Wednesday.

"Unfortunately I can confirm that Mr Milan Kundera passed away yesterday (Tuesday) after a prolonged illness," Anna Mrazova, spokeswoman for the library in his native city of Brno, told AFP.

"He died at home, in his Paris apartment," she said.

The novelist, poet and essayist lived in France since his emigration from Communist-ruled Czechoslovakia in 1975.

He was known for dark, provocative novels dealing with the human condition and sprinkled with satire reflecting his experience of being stripped of his Czech nationality for dissent.

Born on April 1, 1929 in the second Czech city of Brno, Kundera studied in Prague.

He translated works by the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire and wrote poetry as well as short stories.

Kundera also taught at a film school, where his students included the future Oscar-winning director Milos Forman.

His breakthrough novel "The Joke" about a young man expelled from university and the Communist Party over an innocent joke was published in 1967.

A former Communist himself, Kundera fell out of favour with the authorities after the Prague Spring reform movement was crushed by Soviet-led armies in 1968.

Following his departure for France, Kundera taught at the University of Rennes.

Rarely speaking to the public, Kundera was stripped of Czech nationality in 1979, following the publication of "The Book of Laughter and Forgetting." He became a French national in 1981.


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