File Photo: Milan Kundera. AFP
Anna Mrazova, the spokesperson for the Milan Kundera Library in Brno confirmed to to the Agence France-Presse (AFP) that Kundera passed away on Tuesday after prolonged illness.
Kundera was a prominent figure in the Czech literary scene, best known for his novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which was published in 1984 and became an instant literary sensation. The novel explores the themes of love, politics and existentialism, and has been translated into numerous languages, selling millions of copies worldwide. It was also made into a successful film in 1988, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Juliette Binoche.
Kundera's other notable works include Laughable Loves, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, and Immortality.
Kundera's literary works were banned by the communist régime in Czechoslovakia before the Velvet Revolution of 1989, forcing him to flee to France in 1975. Five years later, Kundera became a naturalized French citizen; his Czechoslovak citizenship was revoked in 1979. However, in 2019, he was granted Czech citizenship once again.
Despite his Czech roots, Kundera identified as a French writer and insisted that his works be studied as French literature and categorized accordingly in bookstores.