About the author

Milan Kundera was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, in 1929, the son of a classical pianist. A professor at the Prague Film Institute until the 1968 Soviet invasion, Kundera left when his books -- among them ``The Joke'' and ``Laughable Loves'' -- were banned. In 1975 he and his wife moved to France, where he has taught at the University of Rennes. In 1981 Kundera was granted French citizenship. Since his exile, Kundera has written ``Life is Elsewhere,'' which was awarded the Prix M'edicis in 1974; ``The Farewell Party,'' which received the Prix M'edicis and the Premio Mondello in 1976; ``The Book of Laughter and Forgetting''; and most recently, ``The Unbearable Lightness of Being,'' which won this year's Jerusalem Prize, among other awards. Although Kundera writes fiction in Czech, he writes essays and criticism in French.

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