Drago Siliqi

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Drago Siliqi
Born Drago Siliqi
(1930-06-09)9 June 1930
Tirana, Albania
Died 13 July 1963(1963-07-13) (aged 33)
Near Irkutsk, Soviet Union
Resting place Tirana, Albania
Occupation Writer, literary critic, poet
Language Albanian
Nationality Albanian
Education Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in Moscow, Soviet Union
Period 1945-1963

Drago Siliqi (1930–1963) was an Albanian poet, literary critic, and publisher. At the age of 14 he became a scout and then a partisan of the National Liberation Movement. He published his first collection of poetry, and then pursued university studies at the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in Moscow.

After he returned to Albania from his studies, he became an editor and, later, a publisher and literary critic at the state owned publishing house Naim Frashëri. There, he encouraged writers such as Ismail Kadare through his literary reviews; he also led the company to publish more translations of foreign literary works into Albanian through the hiring of affirmed writers. Siliqi died in 1963, at the age of 33, during an Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-104B crash near Irkutsk, Soviet Union.


Drago Siliqi was born on June 9, 1930 in Tirana, Albania. Nephew of the Albanian National Awakening activist and poet Risto Siliqi, in 1944 Drago became a scout and then a partisan of the National Liberation Movement.[1]

His first book was published when he was 15, followed by others. He studied literature at the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in Moscow.[2] After graduating, he returned to Albania and worked as editor and then director of the publishing house Naim Frashëri.[1]

Siliqi was noted for his work as director of publishing during the 1957-1963 period. Not only was he key to helping young poets and writers such as Ismail Kadare and Fatos Arapi fully develop themselves, but the publishing house under his direction saw a boom of translations from foreign languages. This increase in translations was mainly due to Siliqi's work in gathering the best translators in Albania, such as Dhimitër Pasko, Lasgush Poradeci, and Skënder Çaçi. Most of the translators were affirmed and retired writers.[1] He was literary critic for the most notable post-World War II Albanian authors, such Dritëro Agolli, Fatos Arapi, Petro Marko, Dhimitër Shuteriqi, Fatmir Gjata, and Qamil Buxheli.[1] He also encouraged and helped Ismail Kadare to write The General of the Dead Army, and to later expand it.[1]

Siliqi died on July 13, 1963 when the Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-104B, on which he was flying from China to Albania, crashed in the vicinity of the Siberian city of Irkutsk, Soviet Union. The crash killed all 32 passengers and crew, including six other Albanians.[3]

Literary works[edit]

  • Anthology of the Russian-Soviet poetry (Albanian: Antologjia e poezisë ruso-sovjetike), Tiranë, Naim Frashëri, 1959.
  • New song for the old love (Poem) (Albanian: Këngë e re për dashurinë e vjetër (Poemë)), Tiranë, Naim Frashëri, 1960.
  • The birth of spring: poetry for teenagers (Albanian: Zgjimi i pranveres :vjersha për fëmijët e moshës së rritur shkollore). Tirana, Naim Frashëri, 1965.
  • When the heart speaks: chosen poetry (Albanian: Kur zemra flet : poezi të zgjedhura). Tiranë, SHA Kartografike, 2000.
  • Searching the novelty: Articles and literary studies (Albanian: Në kërkim të së resë: (artikuj e studime letrare)), Tiranë, SHA Kartografike, 2000.