Teodor Keko

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Teodor Keko (1958–2002) was an Albanian writer.


Keko was born in the Albanian capital, Tirana, to cinematographer parents Endri and Xhanfize Keko. He studied at the Qemal Stafa High School, in Tirana, Albania.[1] In 1979 he started his studies for Albanian language and literature in the University of Tirana, where he graduated in 1983. During his studies he met his wife Xhulieta, who studied English language and literature and later became a primary school teacher. Her parents were diplomats and served among others in China and Algeria. Dori and Xhuli have two sons, Martin and Elio, born in the 1980s.


Teodor worked as a journalist for the literary newspaper Drita. When the Stalinist system dissolved in 1990, Keko engaged as a journalist for the daily "Koha Jonë", and later became editor of the political newspaper Aleanca (organ of the Democratic Alliance Party) and of the weekly cultural and artistic magazine Aks. Together with the Albanian journalist Arben Kallamata he founded the 'Independent League of Journalists'. They also were involved in the foundation of the Albanian section of the Association of European Journalists. On March 10 and 18th, 1994 Teodor Keko and his publisher (and ex-minister of culture) Preç Zogaj were assaulted and heavily injured. For some weeks Teodor was afraid to leave his apartment. After Teodor died in 2002 his wife and children went to the Netherlands. A commemoration of Teodor Keko is the Rruga Teodor Keko (Teodor Keko Street) in Tirana.

For several years, Keko contributed to Albanian politics, and for one legislative session he was also a member of parliament for the Democratic Alliance Party.[2] Teodor Keko began publishing his first works in the 1980s when he became famous for his short stories.


Keko died prematurely on 22 August 2002.[3]

The well-known Albanian writer, politician and diplomat Besnik Mustafaj, gave the last speech. Among other things he said:

Ndër të gjithë miqtë e tu të shumtë, mua më ra shorti i vështirë të të them lamtumirën e fundit në emër të tyre. Ne të gjithë të kemi dashur shumë. Dhe po të japim sot me vete mirënjohjen tonë më të thellë, për atë që ti ke ditur, ke mundur dhe ke dashur të na japësh një jetë të tërë. Unë tani përfitoj nga heshtja jote e detyrueshme dhe do të them çfarë të dua. Ti s'më ndërpret dot me të tallur, siç bëje zakonisht...

Among all your many friends, it was my tough luck to say the final farewell in their name. We all loved you greatly. And today we are giving you our most profound gratitude, for that which you have known, have toiled and have desired to give us a full life. I now benefit from your obligatory silence and will say what I want. You cannot disrupt me teasingly this time, as you used to.


His first major work, the novel Loja ("The Game"), was praised. His other works include at least fifteen volumes of poetry, novels, drama, and especially short stories. The novel Lajmëtarja e Vdekjeve ("The Harbinger of Deaths"), was written during the political regime change. His last work, Hollësira Fatale ("Fatal Details"), was a bestseller in Albania in 2001. The works of Teodor Keko are being translated into English by Robert Elsie.

The young Albanian director Eno Milkani based the script of his upcoming movie Shenjtorja ("The Saint") on Keko's Dymbëdhjetë shenjtorë, një profet dhe disa njerëz ("Twelve Saints, a Prophet and Some People"). According to Milkani, Keko's characters are "products of a hopeless society but with a nobility that blossoms only within them who have gone through a totalitarian system."


  • Loja (The Game), 1990
  • Lajmëtarja e vdekjeve (The Harbinger of Deaths), 1991
  • Pretenca (The Pretence), 1994
  • Shënimet e një gruaje (The Notes of a Woman), 1995
  • Dymbëdhjetë shenjtorë, një profet dhe disa njerëz (Twelve Saints, a Prophet and Some People), 1997
  • Prostituta (The Prostitute), 1997;
  • Made in Albania (Made in Albania), 1998
  • Hollësira fatale (Fatal Details), 2001.


  1. ^ Q. Stafa High School website. "Historiku". 
  2. ^ Abrahams, Fred (1996). Human Rights in Post-Communist Albania. Human Rights Watch. p. 47. ISBN 1-56432-160-6. 
  3. ^ "Cultural Roundup". Southeast European Times. 2002-08-28. Retrieved 2008-04-11.