Milan Kundera, who died in Paris aged 94. Credit: MZK.

Czech Writer Milan Kundera Dies in France Aged 94

Brno/Paris, July 12 (CTK) – Czech-born writer Milan Kundera, living in France since 1975, has died in Paris at the age of 94, as confirmed to CTK today by Anna Mrazova, spokeswoman for the Moravian Library (MZK) in Brno.

Kundera was one of the most important Czech authors of the past century. His most famous works include the novels The Joke (1967) and The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984), and collections of long short stories Laughable Loves (1963-1969).

Kundera was one of the prominent figures of the political reform efforts of the 1960s, and was banned from publishing his works soon after the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968.

After emigrating to France in 1975, he became one of the major authors of the Gallimard publishing house in Paris. His works were also published in Czech by ’68 Publishers, the publishing-house-in-exile run by Josef Škvorecký and Zdena Salivarová in Toronto, Canada.

Kundera was stripped of his Czechoslovak citizenship by the Communist regime in 1979, and his Czech citizenship was restored only in 2019.

The author, who received many literary awards, visited Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic several times after the November 1989 collapse of the Communist regime, but still lived with his wife Vera in Paris.

Since the 1980s, he was writing his books in French, and is thus known to some as a French author with Czech roots.

In April, the library bearing his name was opened in Brno, the city where he was born and where he lived until his exile. Located on the first floor of the MZK, it contains more than 3,000 copies of various editions of Kundera’s books and his archive of articles, reviews and other documents, including his correspondence. The library was established thanks to a donation from the Kundera family.

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