Milan Kundera, a Czech-French writer whose contribution to European literature has been monumental, has passed away at the age of 94 in Paris yesterday (11).
Kundera’s wife confirmed his death, which was announced by a spokesperson for the Moravian State Library in Brno today (12).
Born on April 1, 1929, in Brno, Moravia, Kundera belonged to an educated family. His father was a principal of a music college and his mother was a teacher.
Inspired by his cousin Ludwig, who was a surrealist writer, Kundera became interested in writing at a young age. He joined the Communist Party with enthusiasm when he was 18 and later became a distinguished representative of the socialist democratic movement known as the “Prague Spring.”
In August 1968, the Warsaw Pact invaded countries, putting an end to the “socialism with a humane face” campaign. Kundera became known for an important essay he wrote at the time, in which he argued that Central Europe had been “kidnapped” by the West after World War II.
Kundera’s books were banned in Czechoslovakia for many years due to his staunch criticism of the Soviet occupation.
Kundera’s best-known work is his 1984 novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being. The novel propelled him to international fame and earned him numerous awards, including the Prix Médicis, the Order of Knights of the French Legion of Honor, and the Jerusalem Prize.